It's easy to miss the triumphant tragedy in Palm Sunday's scriptures, as Jesus enters into Jerusalem. The crowds are cheering, singing, honoring and giving Jesus a hero's welcome into the city. There is great excitement, and high expectations, for Jesus to be the new king to bring in peace and glory. Our eyes are blind and our ears clogged with images of power and might on a festival day like this, just as the crowds were in Jerusalem that day. Jesus already sees what we do not. He sees that we are all locked in. He is locked in to the cross and can see nothing else. He is on his way to die for the sins of the world. We are all locked into Jesus being a glorious new king and refuse to see and hear any truth but what we already know.
So Jesus enters Jerusalem, not as the end point of his ministry, but an intensification. He has already born the guilt and shame of sinners, endured the rejection of the world, and won acclaim for his teaching, healing and miracles. Yet now, he will suffer. He is locked into suffering at the hands of everyone who is locked into to sinning against him. While the crowds cheer him on, he weeps for them, for the things of God are hidden from their eyes.
The cheers acclaiming his arrival will, within the week, turn to cheers for his crucifixion. There is no avoiding or escaping it.
Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, where we pray that you would see not Jesus in his glorious acceptance by the powers of the world, but instead would hear his word of forgiveness and new life given to the world that rejects and despises him. Come and experience the glory of Jesus on his cross and the suffering he endured for the people he loves so much.
Maundy Thursday we celebrate Jesus' Last Supper, where he gives the disciples – those who betray, deny, and forsake him – his last will and testament, his promise of an inheritance upon his death, so that when he dies they will have exactly what he left for them: forgiveness of sin.
Good Friday we listen to Jesus suffer and die, giving himself over to sinners, dying at their hands, losing a no-win situation whereby death itself will be killed.
All this so that we can celebrate Easter Sunday, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ!