When I read about how the people of Israel welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on what we know as Palm Sunday, and then less than a week later were crying out to crucify Him, I often find myself in a place of pain and anger, but also confusion and pride.
Pain and anger seem to be the natural, even righteous response to reading about the chosen people going from joy and adoration to quickly turning to hatred towards Jesus, the Messiah, my Lord. It’s the confusion and pride that I find in myself that I wish to eradicate.
If we are reading the Bible and how the characters did and said bad things, hypocritical things, hateful things, and our response is to be confused and feel as if that’s them and that we would never behave in such a way, we are fooling ourselves and it’s rooted in pride.
Pride was the very problem that caused the people of Israel’s response, their pride in thinking they knew best and expected Jesus to be the Savior they wanted in overthrowing Roman rule over them. Had they listened to His words, studied the Scriptures, and understood that His mission was to be the Savior they needed, to save them from their sin and not Rome, do you think they would have had such a quick turn from yelling “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him”? (Matthew 21:9; Matthew 27:22-23)
The people in the Bible were people just like us and we are not immune to the fleshly failings they faced. If you’re like me and find yourself taking that perspective as you read and study through the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, it’s time to take those thoughts captive and surrender that pride at the foot of the cross we put Jesus on. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
How can we prevent that pesky pride from popping its evil head up? It’s much easier to act justly, love mercy, and walk in humility with our God (Micah 6:8) when we stop measuring others by the standard of us, and instead measure by the standard of perfection we find in Jesus. When we study the failings of the people in the Bible, we need to mentally keep them in the place they are there for, an example of failing flesh that we can relate to and utilize as a warning (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11), remembering that we desperately need Jesus everyday of our lives. Otherwise, we are using them to bolster our pride instead of seeing the depravity in our own lives.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)
When we rightly use Jesus as our standard, not other people, we quickly realize and remember that we ALL fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), none of us is righteous (Romans 3:10) of our own self and we ALL deserve death (Romans 6:23) but that God’s love and costly gift of Jesus is the only thing that allows us to stand righteous before the Father (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21) as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So as we think on Palm Sunday, take a look on how we will be worshipping in heaven and the parallel of Jesus' first coming versus our heavenly worship:
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the thone and around the the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God” (Revelation 7:9-11 - emphasis added)
Let’s join in the celebration and adoration of our King of kings, for who He truly is and not what we think we want Him to be. Only then can we worship in spirit and truth in proclaiming His praises. Maranatha!