Waving a Palm Frond

Palm Sunday is on 29 March 2015 this year. Palm Sunday is the day we remember the "triumphal entry" of Jesus into Jerusalem, exactly one week before His resurrection (Matthew 21:1-11). You know the amazing thing about Psalm Sunday is that some 450-500 years earlier, the Prophet Zechariah had prophesied, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). Matthew 21:7-9 records the fulfilment of that prophecy:

"They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!'" This event took place on the Sunday before Jesus' crucifixion. In remembrance of this event, we celebrate Palm Sunday. It is referred to as Palm Sunday because of the palm fronds that were laid on the road as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem.

The sad thing is that the same crowds that were crying out "Hosanna" were crying out "crucify Him" five days later (Matthew 27:22-23) and asked for his blood to be on them and their children.

It is easy to look on the crowds on the first Psalm Sunday with contempt, for being so fickle. But are we really that different?

It is so easy to come to church on Sunday and worship and praise our God, and then as soon as we are out the door to go back to living self centred ungodly lives. As the apostle James says, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing" (James 3:9-10).

However, James says fresh water and salt water can't flow from the same spring. You can't praise and wave the palm frond on Sunday and then on Monday curse your brother. In other words if the only time you are God centred is on Sunday then maybe the Spirit that produces the fresh water isn't in you and your worship and your praise is a hollow gong driven by experientialism rather than a true deep seated love for God.

The great news is that 5 days later Jesus died for sinners who are fickle and shallow, so we can praise and glorify him in truth and spirit. It is not the righteous, after all, who Jesus came to save, but sinners. Sinners like us. So this Palm Sunday let's make sure we are waving the palm frond everyday of the week, just not on Palm Sunday.


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