We celebrate today the coming of the King into Jerusalem. I think if Hollywood were to put Palm Sunday into a movie they probably would have Jesus coming in a military tank surrounded by an army ready to declare war. But Hollywood has never read Zechariah. Jesus is King, but Jesus is a king in a far different way than all other kings are kings. As king, He comes endowed with salvation, humble, mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey. As king, He conquers by offering Himself for His people. And if we want to share His conquest, we must go and go likewise.
The way of kingship is cross before crown; suffering before glory. Jesus turns everything upside down: his coming was filled with nuanced symbolic meaning. His arrival was true to the Hebrew Scriptures, but it was true in a way that they did not expect. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that one way Christ executes his office of king is by ruling and defending us. The Jews wanted to be ruled and defended, but they did not want to be ruled and defended in the way Christ wanted to rule and defend. Sometimes we want a king, but we want him to function the way we think best. Palm Sunday is the announcement that Christ’s kingship is expressed in a unique way; in a way that puzzles the crowd, but still in a way that gives them hope. May this hope be ours today.
Prayer: Almighty God, on this day, your son Jesus Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem and was proclaimed King by those who spread garments and palm branches along his way. Let those branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our Lord, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life. In his name we pray. Amen.