by ProfDave, ©2022
(Apr. 12, 2021) — Sunday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week for Christians. On the day foretold by the prophet Daniel (9) centuries earlier, and as described by Isaiah 62 and Zechariah 9, Jesus presented himself to Jerusalem as the “Anointed Prince,” the Messiah, riding on a donkey and cleansing the Temple.
To this point, Jesus of Nazareth had taught with uncanny authority and a power beyond this world, leaving a trail of healed bodies and souls in his wake. Large crowds of simple folk and unsavory characters gathered to hear him. Until now, he had evaded those who wanted to make him some kind of a king. But for those in leadership, he was a dangerous outsider and a definite threat to the status quo. Now he rode straight into confrontation, accepting royal adulation, and driving the High Priest’s concessionaires out of the Court of the Gentiles.
But this was a strange “march on Jerusalem,” beginning with Jesus weeping over the city. Some “triumphal entry.” He bore no weapon but his heart. His challenge was not to the Roman occupation, but to the religious establishment. The Gospel of John clearly shows him goading the stuffed shirts of the Temple to recognize who he was. Was that why they did away with him? Because they knew – and rejected? Or maybe not. What would you have done in their shoes?
We don’t like a real God or his messenger to show up, do we? Least of all do religious people. Least of all religious leaders in full enjoyment of their perks – honor, wealth, power. And the rest of us are ready with the palm branches on the bandwagon as long as it looks promising, but along the via dolorosa we cry “crucify him.” Don’t we? Take up your cross and follow? No, thanks!