What do you think of when you consider the crowd that waved palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna” as Jesus entered Jerusalem?
Maybe you think of children waving palm branches. They were unaware of the significance of that parade. But they knew fun when they saw it. Perhaps they noticed Jesus as one who actually cared about them. Maybe they hardly noticed him as they played with their friends. It is interesting to me that in the middle of such a critical moment of the Gospel, children are in the center of the action. They are not put off to the side or told to be quiet. It is a day for them. It still is.
The first Palm Sunday crowd is often called out by preachers for being fickle. They celebrated Jesus as he entered and a few days later shouted for his death. I believe like most crowds, the majority really did not understand who Jesus was or what he was doing. The crowd celebrated more of what they hoped about Jesus than what they knew about him. When he did not measure up to their misguided expectations, they were easily led to turn on him.
I am not sure Palm Sunday crowds have changed much in all the years. I hope your children will be part of the parade this Sunday and know that Jesus has a special place for them on holy days. Come to church and let them be part of the parade that begins our service. Maybe for us, it is still true that many of us place hopes and expectations on Jesus that come more from our best guesses than our personal knowledge from scripture or our spiritual disciplines. But remember Jesus still rode in. They were in his presence and certainly we know that their actions were not the last word. When you consider that in Jerusalem, not long after the resurrection of Jesus, 3000 became believers you have to wonder how many of them were in the Palm Sunday crowd. Jesus never stopped coming for the crowd.
The good news is that this coming Sunday is Palm Sunday and you can be part of the crowd. Maybe we will not fully understand all that God is doing with us and for us. But Jesus is still going into Jerusalem for us as he did for the first Palm Sunday crowd. He did it to save them. He did it to save us. It is worth our time to come and encounter Jesus this Palm Sunday.
See you in Worship!