Who is this Jesus?
Palm Sunday is a dedicated time on the church calendar to remember how Jesus rode triumphantly as King into Jerusalem the week before what we celebrate as Easter.
It’s important to see what Jesus was saying about himself by riding into Jerusalem on the donkey. While he tried to keep the word about him being the Messiah quiet to the public for most of his ministry, he is now signaling to everyone in a very purposeful way that he is indeed the promised Messiah, the fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures and prophecies that foretold of a deliverer and savior. The people had in mind that it was going to be political deliverance, but Jesus had a different kind of revolution he wanted to start.
Jesus clearly saw himself as the king of the kingdom of God, sent by God the Father in the power of the Spirit with a purpose and plan to be fulfilled at this exact time and place in history. Everything in Jesus’ life had been leading up to this week.
People responded differently to Jesus and his claims to be the messianic king. Some people celebrated, like those who gathered and waved the palms and threw down their cloaks for his donkey to carry him over. Cloaks were people’s most treasured possessions, and it is a good illustration and challenge for us to consider whether we are the kind of people who would be willing to lay down what is most valuable to us in order to make a big deal about Jesus.
Some people got angry and rejected Jesus, like we learned about a couple weeks ago as the Pharisees and religious leaders made plans to kill him. And then others were just confused with what all the excitement was about, wondering, “who is this guy?” Jesus had a habit of making people wonder.
When God’s people gather together to worship, we have an opportunity to show the world what Jesus is like. For believers, Palm Sunday is a time to pause and reflect: is our worship together as a community so genuine, celebratory, and worshipful that it would make people who don’t know Jesus wonder, “who is this?”