I asked my teenage Sunday school class today if they understood what Palm Sunday was about. A bright young girl in the class answered that it was about the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. She was right, but when I asked her why we call it “Palm Sunday” she was not really sure.
Well, when Jesus did make his entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey the crowd greeted him by laying their cloaks on the ground along with palm branches. They also shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:1-11). This was an entry fit for a king. In fact, the people recognized him as the long-awaited Messiah who was to be a descendant of David. They praised Jesus as king and praised God that the Messiah had finally arrived!
Have you ever thought about this passage? On Sunday, the people were praising Jesus. By Friday, only six days later, the crowds were crying out to crucify him (Matthew 27:15-23). How did things change so quickly?
Many of us would like to think that we would not have been one of the crowd who cried out to kill Jesus. But who are we kidding? We would have been no different. Our opinions are usually determined for us by the crowds and leaders we have. We truly are like blind sheep who are carried along by every whim. Each of us, myself included, would have cried out “Crucify!” as well.
What amazes me is that Jesus knew this, but was still willing to die for those who hung him on the cross. The Creator of this world stepped into this world as a man and allowed mankind to slaughter him – all as an act of love for us. How can this be?