Focus: The surreal picture of Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem on a puny animal comes between two other stories which are bookends to Luke 19:28-30. The first bookend is Judgment.The second one is Sorrow. In between them both is the Christ.
When I was young boy growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, I attended, with my parents, WasatchPresbyterian Church. Among my many memories of that time are powerful memories of me, asthat young boy, anxiously taking a big fat, palm branch from one of the Sunday School teachers,so that I could wave it, along with the other kids, to the powerful, moving strains of the openinghymn, which was the same one we sang here this morning, “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.”All glory, laud, and honor to Thee, Redeemer King! To whom the lips of children madesweet hosannas ring.And then later, in the second stanza:The people of the Hebrews with palms before Thee went; Our praise and prayers andanthems before Thee we present.I remember taking the branch home, waving it around in my room, the wonderful sounds of thehymn echoing in my mind. It lasted until the leaves of the branch eventually died and fell off.This is my 39
Palm Sunday. And it wasn’t until many years after this recollection that I beganto understand the disturbing truth of where Jesus was traveling
, which is the Cross. It wasn’tuntil years later that I understood that this fantastic parade was framed, in Luke’s account, withstories of judgment and sorrow.Luke’s report is interesting because of what it
say about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. For example, there are no palm branches, not even the leafy branches mentioned in some of the other gospel accounts. Instead, people spread their cloak along the road. There are no shouts of hosanna, either. There are no children running alongside the procession. Instead, those proclaiming, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” are, according to Luke,only those who were his disciples. What picture, then, is Luke trying to paint here, about thisstory, which is so often called, “The Triumphal Entry.” Was it so?
In order to better understand the image Luke is portraying, it’s really important to know wheretoday’s text sits in the larger context of this gospel. This reading sits between two very dark accounts. One of wrath and judgment, and the other of great sorrow and judgment.Copyright © 2010 by Christopher Donald Drew