Ascending Up To Jerusalem

jerusalem palm sunday

I want to share my reflections on this past Palm Sunday. The name, of course, reminds us of the palm branches that were strewn along the road, as well as people’s garments, when Jesus came into Jerusalem. It is such an important event for so many reasons. Many threads run through this story.

The story is referred to as the Triumphal Entry although I believe it is premature. The crowds are ecstatic and He has a large following that greets Him with great fanfare. But as Jesus enters the city He weeps for it as He prophesies its destruction. I believe He knows that the crowds that welcomed Him with praise would soon betray Him with shame.

They knew the messianic prophecies but under the weight of Roman oppression mistakenly believed that God was promising to deliver them from Caesar. The fact that they are evenly living under Roman rule is an indictment of Israel’s faith (or lack thereof) in the Lord. They have come full circle from the time they were in Egypt living in slavery. At that time they anticipated God’s deliverance and their exodus into the Promised Land. Now they live in slavery in the Promised Land. They squandered their inheritance and despised their liberty.

What I really want to leave you with is the contrast between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the vision that John receives in Revelation 7:9. It reads:

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands…”

It’s a contrast between the multitudes in Jerusalem and the multitudes in the New Jerusalem, the one paved with streets of gold. The former crowds praised Jesus but did not really believe in Him, who He was, or what He could accomplish. They were riding the bandwagon of the team they thought would win. They were just betting, not committing. In contrast, the latter crowd has believed to the end and endured. Now they are praising Him out of perfection-hence the white robes. They are victorious and when they praise Him it is out of genuine faith. It is an unqualified, perpetual triumph.

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