Palm Sunday – Let’s Not Leave It to the Stones

As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

“Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”
But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”

He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

{Luke 19:36-40 NLT}

Today was Palm Sunday. Perhaps little children waved palm branches in church this morning or your pastor mentioned something or maybe you didn’t realize it at all. Palm Sunday was always interesting to me growing up in the church, but unremarkable. The age old Sunday School story of Jesus on parade being greeted by the same obnoxious people that murder Him in time for us to celebrate Easter.

Maybe (like me) you always pictured yourself on the street’s edge that warm, sunny day in Jerusalem, shouting along with the others, ““Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” {Matthew 21:9 NIV} But how willing are we to admit that we were also the ones screaming, “Crucify him!” by the week’s end?

Hosanna, from the Hebrew, means “help” or “save, I pray.” But when I cry Hosanna, often I, like the crowd in Jerusalem centuries earlier, want to be saved in my own way. Save me from the mess I’ve gotten myself into, help me help myself. Jesus, if only you could make me a better version of me and fix my life, then you are really worthy of my worship.

The Jews in Jerusalem, wanting to be rescued from their oppression under Roman rule, cried, “Hosanna,” expecting a conquering king, a man of power to restore their state. But their Savior rode to greet them on a donkey’s colt, the Prince of Peace come to restore their souls. When He failed to meet their expectations, their worship died on their lips and they condemned Him to die on a cross. They must have been mistaken, surely He couldn’t have been the one the Lord sent to save them.

So this Palm Sunday, I once again cry out to Jesus. But not as before, my own indignant pleas questioning God as I desire Him to be. This time, I recognize my help and salvation are secure in who God is and what He’s already done. My cry carries the utmost confidence of an answer. Not for a leg-up today, but in the promise those nail-scarred hands extended for all eternity. My Hosanna is sung in worship to my King, because, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.” {Job 19:25 NLT}

Now when I cry out my Hosannas, even in the depth of my despair, may they not be self-seeking to get my own way, but God-seeking to prepare the way for my Father’s will in me. This Palm Sunday, I worship the living Redeemer in recognition of the price He paid for us all, an honor I refuse to leave to mere stones.

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