April 8 Message From Rev. Bill

HOSANNA! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!!!

  Ah, the celebration of Palm Sunday! The waving of branches, the processional, the political cries for revolution – wait, what? 
  What was Palm Sunday about? Well, first we have to figure out what was happening at that time! Each of the Gospels tells the story differently. For instance, Matthew says that the crowd grabbed “cut branches from trees” (Matt. 21:8); Mark calls them “leafy branches” (Mark 11:8); Luke has no branches at all; and only John says that they were “branches of palm trees” (John 12:3)!

  So what’s the big deal? Well, it’s helpful to know that there are no palm trees up on the mountain of Jerusalem! The closest place to find a good supply of them would have been down in Jericho, about an 8 hour walk!

  The Romans were very jealous of their authority in that region, and they had outlawed the use of national symbols or flags. Only the Roman Eagle crest was permitted to be shown. However, some of the Jews had adopted the palm branch as their national symbol – 

  Also to note – kings didn’t walk into cities. A king would ride – a horse, a donkey, or something. 
  Another note – “Hosanna” means, literally, “Save us!” Save us from whom? 

  So putting all of these pieces together, we have 
  – someone riding into the city,  – with a crowd waving palm branches,  – shouts about a king, the son of David,  – and shouts of “Save us!”
  This would have been seen by the Romans as a political rally! No wonder the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Tell your followers to be quiet! They’re going to get ALL of us into trouble!”

  There are many people today who say that the Church should stay out of politics – but they define “politics” as “any political idea that I disagree with”! And the truth is, Jesus wasn’t into politics. He was into bringing hope, healing, and welcome to everybody. It’s only those who were threatened by His ideas of equality that accused Him (and the Church today) of political action!

  What kind of celebration would Jesus receive if He entered into any of the capital cities of our world?

With His ideas of peace, justice, equality, and family – would Jesus be labeled as a rabble-rouser today? Usually those most resistant to change are those who would lose the most if things DID change!

  We like to celebrate this Sunday with palms and songs and shouts of joy – and I pray that we would continue to walk with Jesus on the rest of His path, too.

  – Rev. Bill

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