Lessons learnt from the First Palm Sunday
- N. Manokaran
Palm Sunday is celebrated the Sunday before Easter, marking the Triumphal Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. It has been recorded in the gospels of Matthew (Chapter 21), Mark (11), Luke (19) and John (12). It was a panoramic sight, Jesus riding on the donkey; children shouting ‘Hosanna, in the highest’; people spreading their cloaks; cutting branches and waving the palm leaves. It was a popular celebration among the disciples and common people while the religious leaders were upset, envious and even complained to the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Lord Jesus uses the Meek: It is interesting to note that the Lord Jesus chose a donkey as his vehicle for a triumphal procession. The meek and humble animal was chosen by our Lord instead of highly rated horse that was the vehicle of kings and nobles. It is a myth that God uses only those who are extroverted, highly talented, educated, skilled, trained, equipped, and capable people. God can use anyone who is available. In His paradigm, ones availability ranks higher than the ability. The mule was readily available.
- Lord Jesus as our Model: The Lord Jesus Christ is our model. The world worships pomp and show, while the Lord chose a humble procession. It was not planned as a mega show with media persons clamouring for bytes. Humility was one of the greatest virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even when he had opportunities to choose a better place for his birth, he chose an unhygienic setting for the Incarnation episode. He always chose the level where the least, the marginalized, the ostracised, and the poor could be comfortable with Him.
- Lord Jesus teaches a Moral: The Palm Sunday cannot be disconnected from the cleansing of the temple. The Temple in Jerusalem looked like a Bazaar (historically dubbed as Anania Bazaar, named after the corrupt Chief Priest) where the noise of animals, the money being changed (temple tax coin were to be purchased with other currencies brought by Jewish Diaspora), the vendors shouting and advertising their products, wooing potential customers. And the poor worshippers—appalled as they were—tried to strike the best bargain for buying worship materials including a sacrificial animal or a bird. Instead of praises in the temple there was a lot of noise; while the streets were filled with praises instead of noise. What an irony? Jesus cleansed the temple and restored the worship with quietness and a calm atmosphere. Immediately the blind and lame came to be healed and were healed (Matthew 21:14). The Lord Jesus was indigent towards those who commercialized worship but blessed those who came to worship. A place of worship cannot become a ‘den of thieves’. Our body is the ‘temple of Holy Spirit’ it cannot become den of thieves with commercial and distracting interests.
- Lord Jesus reveals a Mystery: The Pharisees and Sadducees as usual were not happy with the praises and worship the Lord Jesus received from the people. They wanted silence, not praises. (They could tolerate noises in the temple- that became a bazaar but not praises in the streets). The Lord Jesus simply said that the ‘stones’ would cry out if the worshipers keep silence. (Luke 19:40) He was talking about the present Information Era. In fact, ‘micro-chips’ would cry out, if people quit praising and worshiping Him.
- Lord Jesus was not swayed by the Masses: The Lord Jesus was not swayed by the praises and the mass hysteria. He was living with purpose, fulfilling the Will of God. He at least did three important things. First, he cleansed the temple. He restored the worship in the proper place. Second, he healed the blind and the lame who came to him after the cleansing (Matthew 21:14). Third, he wept for Jerusalem. (Luke 19:41) The city failed to discern and accept the Messiah.
The Palm Sunday reminds us that God can use us if we are ‘available’. It also challenges us to be meek and humble as modelled by the Lord Jesus Christ. Our priorities should be right. Worshipping the Lord is paramount in our lives. We are not only called to be disciples, but to be true worshippers. Let not the noises of the world marginalize our life of praises as we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Technologies, including micro-chips are for glorifying God. Christians should redeem technology and science for the purpose of glorifying the Creator. The Lord Jesus was focused on God’s purpose and was not swayed by the people around Him. He was not a “men pleaser” nor played for the gallery, nor was he directed by his critics. May God help us to lead focused lives? Let us join the procession shouting ‘Hosanna in the Highest’. Amen.