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From hosanna to crucify him: Lessons from Passion account for Palm Sunday

* Same crowd that was cheering during the parade into Jerusalem was jeering few days later
* Faced with fearful prospect of being condemned along with Jesus, Peter denies being one of his followers
* Palm Sunday reminds us of reign of Christ
Sunday Mar 24, 2024 9:41 am



By Onyeka Uwakwe
Ekwulobia,   Features


Sunday before Easter is significantt in the Christian calendar. On this day,  tthe  feast of Palm Sunday is celebrated to commemorate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Traditionally, the celebration involves singing hymns, reading Scriptures, and sometimes even holding processions with the palms as widely practiced in Nigeria and other parts of the world. In pristine neighborhoods of Nigeria, owners of palm trees are sure to receive visitors soliciting to pluck fresh palm fronds. This scenario  results in annual gift from owners, or loss. 

Palm Sunday is a strong reminder of the love Jesus showed by sacrificing  his life for us even though as God, he had opportunity to decline from human injustice, humiliation and the ultimate supreme sacrifice. This rare act of love compels us to reflect on our own lives, especially with regard to show of love and humanitarian acts. 

This year, Palm Sunday falls on March 24. Also known as Passion Sunday, it marks the start of the Holy Week. This most sacred week of the Christian year includes the Good Friday, the re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion story and death, and their belief (Hindustan Times).

Remarkably, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian churches all celebrate Palm Sunday, which is the beginning of Holy Week, the most hallowed time of year for Christians.. However, the Orthodox Christian Church follows the Julian calendar and celebrates later than Catholic and Protestant communities.

Some philosophers and scholars adduce that  the feast of Palm Sunday has a bitter-sweet taste. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio informs that "though it celebrates the King’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem amidst hosannas, the parade leads straight to the Lord Jesus’ suffering and death on Calvary."

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio  narrates:

"We now come to the Sunday with a split personality. It starts with an upbeat gospel recounting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is a festive affair, complete with a parade route strewn with palm branches instead of ticker tape."

"But we quickly progress to the stark reading of Jesus’ passion, bearable only because we already know its happy ending. Mel Gibson’s film did us a favor in reminding us how shockingly brutal the whole business really was.

"For the same crowd that was cheering during the parade into Jerusalem was jeering a few days later. They’d been wowed by his sermons, fed with loaves and fishes, healed of their diseases, delivered of their demons. But as soon as the tide began to turn, so did they. Their cries of “Hosanna” turned to shouts of a very different kind: “Crucify him!”


READ ALSO → Mother's Day and Mothering Sunday: History, perspectives, practices

Lessons on the Passion

1. The Lord asks Peter, James and John to pray with him. But they dozed off, unwilling or unable to deal with the stress of the situation. Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter.” Matthew 26:40.  Apparently,  on the precipice of one of the greatest moments in biblical history, the apostles dozed off and missed the moment—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for true discipleship. Question:  How does this apply to us during critical times in our national history and religious lives? 

2. Faced with the fearful prospect of being condemned along with Jesus, Peter denies being one of his followers. The story of Peter’s denial is reported in all four canonical gospels.  John 18:17 tells us that when Jesus is arrested and taken to the high priest Caiaphas, Peter is shut out of the courtyard, away from the proceedings. The servant girl at the courtyard door asks if Peter is one of Jesus’ disciples, and Peter denies this. As Jesus is being questioned, Peter is also asked in John 18:25-27 by two different individuals if he is a follower of Christ, one asking, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter denies both queries, leading to the third denial and the rooster’s crowing as prophesied by Jesus. Question: How steadfast are we as followers of Christ? As humans, how do we consistently identify with true allies?

3. The Scriptures tell us that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. We are told that while Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” But because partly he feared the crowds, he handed Jesus over. However, notice that he tried to deflect his choice, how “he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility’” (Matthew 27:24). 

Pilate chose to satisfy the mob by having Jesus whipped and mocked. So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. We can argue that actually, Pilate, was also responsible. He had a choice, and he made it. Pilate tried to wash his hands of responsibility as we too. Do we have to excuse our silence or inaction in the face of injustice?

Question: How often do you make your  career and personal considerations more important to you than justice? So, too, for us. We also often favour our career and worldly standing over doing what is right. Ironically, thereafter, we often blame others for what we have freely chosen. 


Significance and Things about Palm Sunday that remind us Christ is King

Debbie McDaniel gives an instructive account.

On the heels of Palm Sunday, as we begin this Holy Week, may we constantly be reminded of its significance and value for our lives today. That very important day in history, when Jesus began His journey towards the cross.

Yet may be amid busy lives, on the heels of Spring Break, or in all of the upcoming thoughts about Easter, the real meaning of it may, even unintentionally, get missed.

His Word reveals such great truths in every part of this story. Truths that draw us closer towards Christ, reminding us that He alone is King...

5 Things about Palm Sunday that remind us Christ is King

1. God's Word tells us the people cut palm branches, waved them in the air, and laid them out on the ground before Jesus as He rode into the city. The palm branch represented goodness and victory and was symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over death.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Cor. 15:55

2. Jesus chose to ride in on a donkey, which directly fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Zech. 9:9. In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolized peace, so those who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions. Jesus even then reminded us that He is the Prince of Peace.

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." Zech. 9:9

3. When the people shouted "Hosanna!" they were hailing Christ as King. That word actually means "save now," and though in their own minds, they waited for an earthly king, God had a different way of bringing true salvation to all who would trust in Him.

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!" Ps. 118:26

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Rom. 10:9

4. The Bible says that Jesus wept for Jerusalem. Amid the praise of the moment, He knew in His heart that it wouldn't be long that these same people would turn their backs on Him, betray Him, and crucify Him. His heart broke with the reality of how much they needed a Savior.

 

"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it, and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes." Luke 19:41-42

5. Palm Sunday reminds us that the reign of Christ is far greater than any man's mind could ever conceive or plan. Man looked for someone to fight their battles in the present day world. Yet God had the ultimate plan of sending His Son to fight the final battle over death. This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week. Because of Christ's ultimate sacrifice, we can be set free of death.

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,'" John 11:25

Credit|crosswalk.com
 
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