Since I was a child, I carried the image of Jesus riding triumphantly (yet with great humility) into Jerusalem. The people welcomed Him with shouts, palm branches, and such. It has always struck me how the people turned their backs on Jesus later that week and demanded His execution! I see in my mind’s eye the vacant tomb, the empty burial cloths, and hear the quintessential Easter message of the angels, who told the women at the tomb, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:6
I carried this picture through school, college and my seminary days. It is still in my mind. It is the thought that I hope and pray you carry in your hearts, too! It is what St. Paul desired for the Christians in the city of Philippi, that they would:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
St. Paul described the payoff so clearly in our reading:
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I still carry in my heart this view of Jesus, meek yet triumphant. Gentle yet all powerful. Suffering yet victorious. On Palm Sunday and every day, we can see Jesus and rejoice! We can raise loud “Hosannas!” to our God and King. We can confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father! By God’s grace we can. In God’s power we should!
We pray: Heavenly Father, by the indwelling of Your Spirit may we be enabled to join with the throngs who welcomed Jesus and celebrate His victory over sin, death, and Satan! In His name we pray. Amen.