Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Ain't No Rock Gonna' Cry In My Place"

Luke 19:29-40 gives us a glimpse into Palm Sunday. If you have ever been exposed to a traditional Palm Sunday service (especially in a liturgical church) then you have a feel for the pomp and circumstance of that day in the life of Jesus. He arrived in Jerusalem to cheering crowds who spread out their cloaks along the road to honor him. They waved the palm branches, just like the children do in our modern day celebrations.  The shouted "Hosanna!"  They worshiped him.  And for one of the only times in his life on earth, Jesus let them. He soaked it all in.  It felt like a coronation- a party for a King.  But there was so much more going on...
I have always wondered about the first part of our scripture. Why did Jesus decide to come to town on a borrowed stolen donkey that no one else has ever ridden?  There is no explanation given, but clearly this was his chosen form of transportation. He sent the disciples to get it. It's one of those questions I'm saving for heaven.

I love that as the party starts to get loud, the Pharisees decide to squash it. They want Jesus to tell the party-goers to hold it down. Instead, Jesus informs the would-be party poopers that if his followers get quiet that even the rocks will shout. If you're a Pharisee, how do you respond to that one? You don't. And if you are part of the crowd, doesn't that just fire you up even more? If it's me, I'm singing- "Ain't no rock gonna' cry in my place..." 

Of course, let's not give that crowd too much credit. Many of them were there because they, like Judas, thought Jesus was riding into Jerusalem to overthrow the Roman government. He was there to proclaim a new Kingdom, but not the one his Jewish followers were expecting- because they had not been listening to what he said the past three years. And those expectations would lead to a huge swing in his popularity with that crowd by the end of the coming week...

If you watch the scene from the movie Jesus Christ, Superstar in which we see Jesus arrive to a Mardi Gras style parade. I'm surprised they aren't throwing beads at Jesus and the disciples! It's a fascinating look at this story and the crowd expectations, which seem to be changing with each passing moment. Check it out.

And finally, in Luke 19:41-42, we hear Jesus lament what is about to happen. He weeps over Jerusalem and says, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes." His arrival on a donkey to the screams of adoring crowds would not last long- and he knew it. They were not cheering for him. They were cheering for who they hoped he was. The end was coming.
    So today, even as we celebrate Palm Sunday, we have to know that Good Friday is starring us in the face. There is no escaping what Jesus would do- what he had to do- for us. He was going to die for us and bridge the sin gap that separates us from God. He was going to rise again and demonstrate his power over death. With the advantage of hindsight, we know that we cannot turn our backs on Jesus. As we move through the drama of Holy Week, we must stand strong and lift high the name of Jesus, or even the rocks will shout. And like I said before, "Ain't no rock gonna' cry in my place- as long as I'm alive I'll glorify His holy name!"

    Because of Jesus,

    1 comment:

    1. Anonymous4/13/2014

      "Praise his holy name, as long as I'm alive I'll glorify his holy name!" LOVE that song, Carl!


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