Holy Week: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday.

It is the dramatic and yet anticlimactic start to Holy Week each year. Jesus shows His great intention for His arrival at the festivities in Jerusalem by sending a few of the disciples on an errand for a donkey. Great intention. The Scriptures are fulfilled. But for the most humble of set-ups. The King riding on a beast of burden, a humble colt. What is Jesus up to?

Surely, the disciples wondered this. We do too. It still doesn’t sit well with us. The triumphant King, the Son of David, exalted, yet carted into town in utter lowliness. What a strange sight! What a perplexing paradox! The King of Kings is exalted, yet His pathway toward exaltation is already hinted at — His own humiliation. He enters town humbly, gently, and peacefully — in victory. While He isn’t flanked by any army, the heavenly hosts lean in, observe the scene, and wonder. And we should wonder and worship too.

The One who is exalted now will be forsaken and then will be murdered. And yet, there is great intention in those actions of Jesus as well — as we will see as we walk with Him this week. The Scriptures are fulfilled. The King willfully humbles Himself and then is again exalted; this time for good and over all.

 …Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5b-11

And this is not just good news for Him, it’s good news for us. Jesus, the Servant of the Lord, has “set [His] face like a flint…and [He] will not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7b). His great intention means a great salvation is in store for us who have great need of it — the sinners, the broken, the weary, the outcasts, the forgotten, the downcast, the sufferers. I imagine that at least a few of those present on Palm Sunday were shouting their “Hosannas” with this desperate hope. How much more might we does so, who can now see the fuller scope of His work?

My friends, treasure Jesus’ great intention and paradoxical kingliness during Holy Week this year. As we lean in with the wondering angels, there is a boundless store of comfort for us. The Lamb of God on His way to be slain — to fulfill the Scriptures, yes — but chiefly to save and redeem you and I. What good news. Thanks be to God!

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”

Revelation 5:12

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