Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday.
“A Lot Can Happen in a Week”
What does it feel like to have less than a week to live?
That’s what Jesus is facing when he makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
The crowds don’t know what’s coming.
The disciples have been given hints and even outright warnings from Jesus that the Son of Man will be betrayed and killed, but perhaps one of the reasons they are so filled with joy on the first Palm Sunday is that they have convinced themselves that, at least on this one detail—Jesus is wrong.
After-all, how can the Lord Who opened the eyes of a blind man be arrested by mere mortals?
How can the One Who walks on water be stopped by an oppressive regime?
How can the One Who can calm a storm, heal the demon possessed and bring dead people back to life be crucified by mere people?
And look what’s going on.
This is a moment of incredible potential and excitement.
They know Jesus is powerful, and just think what that power will do if they can convince Jesus to use it against Rome?
And His making such a bold entry into the heart of the Jew’s stolen Capital City surely bodes well for that project.
But, what a lonely moment this must be for Jesus.
To be so misunderstood, even by His closest disciples!
To be surrounded by screaming fans but burdened by the knowledge of how this will end.
This is the point of no return for Jesus.
By entering Jerusalem on a colt with the crowds laying down their cloaks before him and shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” he has triggered one prophetic tripwire too many.
The Roman rulers and the Jewish religious authorities can no longer pretend that he is insignificant, that he is a fad, that he is not dangerous.
Jesus is deliberately provoking the crisis that will end with him nailed to a Cross.
A lot is going to happen this week.
It starts with a parade.
It ends in a tomb.
In between, there is abandonment, denial, an arrest, a horrible crucifixion and death.
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning we are told that there are two different groups of people responding to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
We’ve got “crowds” and “the city.”
First the “crowds.”
Who makes up the “large crowd” of people who “spread their cloaks on the road” and “cut branches from the trees”?
Who are these folks who went ahead and behind Jesus shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”?
These are Jesus’ fans.
This is the motley crew that’s been following him and growing bigger every time He enters another town, another village.
These are the former beggars, the prostitutes, those “who were blind but now can see,” the sinners that Jesus ate with, healed, loved on, included and treated with dignity.
There were also a lot of women in this crowd.
And this is because Jesus was, perhaps, the first One Who had ever treated them as equals.
Remember, to just about everyone else in that time and place—women were nothing but property—hardly even human.
But to Jesus, they were just as important as anyone else.
And children, there must have been many children in the crowd.
Jesus treated children with dignity as well, unlike so many people of His time.
There would also have been former lepers, cripples, and folks who had spent their entire lives living on the margins.
And just think how happy they would have been!!!
Jesus was finally getting the respect He deserved.
The Only One Who had ever REALLY loved them was coming into the city as the Messiah of God.
This was the moment.
This was payback time for anyone and everyone who had ever been made to feel small and less than.
Finally the “powers that be”—the “bullies” would be put in their place.
So we’ve got one group of people.
They aren’t from Jerusalem.
They are from all over the place…
…all the way back to Galilee.
Jesus isn’t being hailed as the Messiah by the “city folk” who have heard of His revolutionary reputation.
No, this is the “country come to the city.”
And the “city” doesn’t know what to make of Jesus and His group of ragamuffin followers.
Their response isn’t to join in the parade and follow Jesus.
Instead, they just stare and wonder: “What the heck is going on?”
“Who is this?” they ask the nutty looking crowd.
And the crowd answers with glee: “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee,” as if this is going to cause the people of the city to immediately convert and start following Jesus as well.