by Dr. Linda Brupbacher
Holy Week is a special time in many Christian traditions. It begins today. I’ll post a short devotional for each day during this Holy Week—beginning today. Each is excerpted from a Holy Week Devotional Guide I wrote for South Main Baptist Church. Each will include a reference to a scripture, a short reflection on that portion of scripture and a prayer. I hope these will be meaningful to you.
Sunday, March 24, Palm Sunday
Mark 11, 1-11
Actually, two processions entered Jerusalem on what has come to be known as Palm Sunday: a royal procession and Jesus’ procession. Pontius Pilot had left his luxurious headquarters in Caesarea Maritima to help keep the peace in Jerusalem during Passover. His entourage entered the city with all the trappings of power typical for an influential representative of the Roman government. This contrasted sharply with Jesus’ entry into the city. Unlike Pontius Pilot, Jesus rode on a lowly donkey–not on a strong, regal stallion. Accompanied by peasants, not cavalry and soldiers, Jesus’ procession represented the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of Rome (the source and symbol of power and prestige in that society).
As Jesus rode into the city, people shouted, “Hosanna!” There was honor, hope and real joy. For Jesus and for His followers, it was a time of celebration. I marvel at His ability to celebrate on that day. Jesus was entering Jerusalem–where He knew He would soon be arrested, ridiculed, tortured and crucified. Surely He had already begun to feel some of the dread He expressed in the garden when He asked God to spare Him from death on the cross. Yet, somehow He didn’t let fear and apprehension about what was coming destroy the beauty and joy of that Sunday. Instead, He embraced the triumphal entry experience and celebrated with His followers.
Palm Sunday offers us two powerful and positive models:
(1) Jesus celebrating and enjoying the specialness that Palm Sunday offered–and not letting dread and worry about what would happen next poison His present (even when He knew tough times were coming);
(2) His faithful followers choosing to be part of our savior’s procession rather than that of Pontius Pilot: honoring Jesus’ way of humility, service and sacrifice rather than Pilot’s way of power, greed and self-protection.
Help us not ruin the positive possibilities of today with dread and worry about what might (or might not) happen in the future. Help us have the wisdom, strength and courage to join Your procession rather than that of our secular society. Amen.