Palm Sunday: The Journey from Cheers to Jeers

It’s Palm Sunday again, a day to reflect on the Triumphant Entry our Lord made into the city. The clumsy journey on the back of the beast, the “Hosannas” joyously ringing out and reverberating through the thick crowds. The palm branches flapping melodiously in the wind, the questions asked by little children as the Man rides past them on His donkey.

I picture myself in this crowd. I, too, shout out “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna to the King! Glory to God in the highest.” I wave my branches, and I pledge my allegiance. I taste the victory that awaits. I hope with those around me for better days ahead. I cheer. Yes, this is the place, this is the hour, this is the crowd for cheering.

I picture myself in another crowd. I, too, gather outside the Temple and gather up my excuses. I shout my accusations, and I listen to the others spew their opinion out of their own confusion and guilt. I am right alongside them; never mind how we were waving our branches together just a few days ago. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him”, this crowds crows all the more loudly. I jeer. Yes, this is the place, this is the hour, this is the crowd for jeering.

Funny how we can so quickly move from praising our King to crucifying Him. Funny how the crowd did just that in a matter of days. Far too many of those who shouted the loudest on Palm Sunday were among the cruelest mockers on Good Friday. Those who cheered for Jesus quickly became those who jeered at Jesus. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

As I wrap up this first day of Holy Week, I pause. I look at the metaphorical palm branch in my own hand. In my heart, I have pledged my allegiance. I have shouted my praise. I have prepared the way for the King of Glory to enter my city.

I pray to be always be found in the right crowd. As quickly as they turned on Jesus, so these crowds will turn on you and me. With one breath they approve of us. With another, they sentence us to die. May we never expect less for ourselves than what the Savior endured. Today, the world cheers. Tomorrow they will jeer. He was not surprised. Neither shall we be.

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