Palm Sunday is when we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the events surrounding His Passion. Jesus didn’t have to arrange his own ovation when he entered Jerusalem. Word about Jesus had spread throughout the countryside. Jesus had healed many. He had taught with authority using parables that both anyone could understand and yet they confounded the wise. He spoke of love and lived grace to rich and poor alike. He had become quite a celebrity when Palm Sunday arrived.
Unfortunately, He had become too much of a celebrity to suit the Jerusalem fat cats. So even as the crowd waved its palm branches in adulation, the shadows of the cross loomed in the background. Have you ever felt wrongly persecuted when you’ve done everything right that you know to do? And there’s only one thing more disappointing than having crowds of strangers turn on you when you’re innocent. After all, crowds are fickle. The worst thing is when your friends and family let you down.
That’s when it’s really tough to keep loving people. I don’t know about you, but when I feel betrayed, my first inclination is to cut my losses and move on. Who wants to “throw their pearls before swine?” The answer is, “Nobody,” right? But when we look at Jesus’ last week we see a loving Lord who washes his denying betraying disciples’ feet, and a Savior who looks down at his killers and says, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they’re doing.” Wow! In the midst of betrayal, Jesus summons enough grace to forgive.
This world would be such a different place if we could be that forgiving and patient. Jesus gave up his rights and put the rights of others before his own. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus let go of his will and said that God’s will was more important. This Holy Week, the same challenge is ours. Can we put aside the disappointment that fickle people offer and lay claim to God’s approval? Is it enough for us to be loved by God even when it makes us unpopular with people? Can we do the right thing regardless of public opinion? I pray so.