It is the start of Holy Week, and this is a big Sunday.So much is written of it I would rather read than write! But still, I am typing. Palm Sunday marks Jesus procession into Jerusalem and it is the beginning of His passion; His crucifixion , death, and resurrection. The question becomes, how does someone approach this day? Should I view this day, from today’s perspective with full knowledge of the events to unfold? Should I view it from the perspective of the attendees of this event on the first Palm Sunday? There are a lot of ways to approach this narrative.
Today we understand this day as the beginning of Holy Week and the conclusion of Lent. Two thousand plus years ago, people threw those palms in front of Jesus the Christ entering into a city. They were but one of the groups of people present on that day. Historians of the day suggest they were large in number, but they were not the only ones present. Jerusalem was a complicated city. It was the seat of Judaism, the city of the Jewish Temple, a destination for faithful pilgrims who came from throughout the diaspora. Some of these knew the Christ and others have yet to be introduced to Him. The city was also an occupied city under Roman rule, and that was a powerful empire with a large military and forceful government. They were dominant. Aside from being a religious hub the Temple was also an economic engine, its economy contributed to the Empire through taxes and also to the temple priests. The temple priests , the local element. When Jesus enters that city, He is not only welcomed by the Disciples, He is also watched by the others. That is the complex narrative reenacted during the Mass of Palm Sunday. The Roman authority, the nervous and angry Sanhedrin, the angry crowd, and the disciples. The disciple’s.
This is Palm Sunday, Jesus entry into the city. Think back to another season where Jesus makes another entry, He enters into our world at the Nativity. At that Nativity the crowds were there too. There was the anger of Herod, the census of Rome, the Holy Family. Then there is he procession of the Shepherds to the crèche, and the Magi’s make their appearance. Contrast the slaughter of the Holy innocents with Christ’s crucifixion. Both are days of adoration, and of violence. Both contain those that welcome the Christ, and those that are violently opposed to Him. The purpose of the Nativity is the Resurrection. Easter is the Nativities grand finale. One can look back at the First Palm Sunday and see the Joy of those first Christians that welcomed Jesus into the city. It is the same joy that sang Joy to the World the Lord Has Come. Their joy is important when examining this Palm Sunday. The joy of this day influences how one approaches the days to come. Throughout the week there are going to be challenges to joy. The greatest of course occurs on Good Friday. The thing though is in Christians that emotion does not die. It is challenged, it is suppressed, and it is hated. It does not die, and I think that is the historical lesson of the first Palm Sunday. Their joy punctuates the essence of Christ’s resurrection. Joy triumphs despair. The lesson of Christ. The disciples journey joyfully continues.