As we head into Holy Week, we start off with the massive celebration commonly referred to as Palm Sunday. Getting caught up in the festivities, we might be tempted to think that Jesus could have enjoyed this moment of notoriety. After all, who wouldn’t like to be greeted upon their arrival into a new city with shouts of “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”?
However, Jesus knew exactly what was waiting for him on the other side of this triumphal entry…
Many of these same people would be standing by the side of the same road in 5 short days watching him drag his cross out of Jerusalem toward Skull Hill.
One of his disciples would sell him out for 30 pieces of silver. His closest friend would act like he didn’t know him.
Probably worst of all, he knew God himself would turn his back on him–the only thing he complains about throughout the entire ordeal we refer to as Good Friday.
He knew all this was going to happen before he even headed for Jerusalem one last time.
So why did he do it?
Because if he didn’t, he knew you and I would be eternally separated from God because of all those times we’ve screwed up. Someone had to pay the price for the sins of the world, and he knew it could only be him.
So he went.
I can’t think of a better way for someone to show me how much he loves me–for Jesus to lay down his life willingly for me so I can live; for God to allow the sacrifice of his only son so I can run into his arms instead. This is grace; it is Love in action.
I don’t mean to dampen the celebration that is Palm Sunday. I only suggest that we all take a moment amidst waving palm branches to ponder that Jesus’ sacrifice for you and for me began the moment he climbed onto the donkey’s back to begin his long ride into Jerusalem and toward the cross.