Imagine the scene that day. The fanfare, the hoopla, the noise, the electricity in the air (even before electricity was discovered!).
An impromptu parade, with coats and palm leaves on the ground, the crowd shouting and singing, welcoming their deliverer, riding into the capital city on a donkey. A triumphant entry, and the beginnings of the coronation of a new king!
“Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they shouted.
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
What a difference a few days made. Many of that same crowd who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem on the first day of the week, were throwing Him under the proverbial bus–or donkey–just four days later. After His so-called trial, when Pilate found no guilt in Him, they were given the opportunity to weigh in on what to do with Him. Certainly they would call for His release.
Instead, they cried out “Crucify Him!”
It is so easy to condemn those first-century followers and their fickle faith. They were ready to declare Jesus to be their king, singing Messianic songs to Him on Sunday, and then they were so quick to condemn Him to a cross on Friday. It’s hard to even imagine what could have possibly changed their minds in such a short period of time.
But then again, we realize how easy it is for us sometimes to boldly proclaim our allegiance to Jesus as our Lord and King and sing His praises on Sunday, only to shrink back or turn away when the crowd turns in another direction by the next weekend.
It reminds us of one of Jesus’ closest and most dedicated followers, the disciple Simon Peter. In that in-between time between Jesus’ triumphal entry and His crucifixion, Peter proclaimed that he would follow Jesus anywhere, and was ready to take on the Roman army in the Garden of Gethsemane, one ear at a time. Before the rooster cried three times he was denying he even knew Jesus at all. He went from faith to faithless in a matter of hours.
This Sunday, we will come together as a faith family to worship Jesus on a day we commemorate as Palm Sunday. Nearly twenty centuries ago, it was the beginning of the Holy Week that led eventually to the upper room for a final supper, to the garden for an arrest, to Calvary where Jesus would die on the cross, and to an empty tomb where Jesus would forever conquer death and the grave. It was a crazy eight days, from Sunday to Sunday, and the most important week in human history.
For all of us, as we approach this day of celebrating our King, may our faith not be fickle, but faithful. May our hearts be sincere in our commitment to the One who gave His life for us, and may we follow through with devoted faithfulness, even if it requires that we go against the cries of the crowd around us.