Every year we put out a table with a variety of Lenten Devotion booklets for folks to take home and use as part of their Lenten practices. The table will be up in the Narthex for one more week so you can take a devotion guide to use during Holy Week if you haven’t had a chance to pick one up yet. In “The Saving Passion” booklet the author takes inspiration from Henri J.M. Nouwen who was a Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. Below is the reading for Palm Sunday. We hope you will join us in worship this week for Palm Sunday.
The Peak of His Popularity
The great crowd…took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” John 12:12-13
Jesus drank the cup of life. He experienced praise, adulation, admiration, and immense popularity. He also experienced rejection, ridicule, and mass hatred. At one moment people shouted “Hosanna”; a moment later they cried: “Crucify him.” Jesus took it all in, not as a hero adored and then vilified, but as the one who had come to fulfill a mission and who kept his focus on that mission whatever the responses were. (Can You Drink the Cup?, 88)
It was perhaps the peak of Jesus’ popularity. A great throng that had gathered for the Passover festival accompanied him into Jerusalem with shouts of “Hosanna” to the promised Messiah.
However, Jesus was headed to Jerusalem not to receive the praise of people but to receive a crown of thorns. Five days later, another crowd would be shouting “Crucify him!” And their voices prevailed. But through it all, Jesus kept his focus on his mission – to defeat the powers of darkness, so we might live in his light and peace forever.
As we journey through life toward our final destination, it is tempting to seek the praise, popularity and wealth which this world offers. Following Jesus may mean ridicule and rejection. But what we accomplish for him and his kingdom will be eternally worthwhile.
Scripture Readings for April 14, 2019
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49