‘Those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Pilate spoke to the crowd again.
‘Then what do you want me to do with the man you call King of the Jews?’
They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’
The readings for Palm Sunday show that it has 2 sides.
There is the ecstatic, cheering palm waving welcome given to Jesus; followed by the chilling, determined shouts of ‘Crucify him!’
I don’t know about you, but I love the Palm Sunday procession into church, where I get to hold high my palm cross, pledging myself afresh to follow Jesus and uphold His values.
But then, later in the service as the Passion narrative is read and as we, the crowd, are asked to shout, ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’…. well, this is where I struggle. I don’t want to hear myself baying for Jesus to be crucified.
And yet…… do I go from that service and live a life without sin? By no means!
And so, I have to remind myself that my sins, through negligence, through weakness, through my own deliberate fault, cry out ‘Crucify Him!’ as much as if my lips had uttered those words.
Palm/Passion Sunday IS about palms and Passion, and Jesus embraced both the palms and the Passion.
Our lives too might be seen as lives of palms and Passion; lives which have their joys and sorrows; their celebration and their pain; their success and their failures.
Jesus said, ‘Whoever wants to be a follower of Mine, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.’
So, as we enter into Holy Week may it be an opportunity for us to, at least begin denying ourselves and taking up the cross, spurred on in the knowledge that when we fail, as we assuredly will….
Jesus hasn’t come to condemn.
He has come to forgive.
And it is this Jesus we greet with palms today!