“He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” -Zachariah 9:10
Palm Sunday begins the Biblical story filled with paradoxes that culminate in Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s filled with opposites: both cheers and jeers, joy and pain, beginnings and endings, and death and life. Simply put, it’s a monumental tragedy wrapped up in an incredible opportunity for you and me.
We see opposites around almost every corner in this story and today, I would like to discuss just a few of them as we enter into the most important week in the history of mankind.
- Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the end of Christ’s life here on Earth. Subsequently it also means the end of our mortality and the beginning of the promise of an eternal life with God in the afterlife.
- When Jesus enters Jerusalem, he is welcomed with cheers and celebration. However, only five days later the same adoring crowd turns on him and jeers his same steps toward crucifixion. Why the sudden about face? When Jesus appeared in the manner he appeared, he fulfilled and age-old prophesy. The people initially thought they were getting a savior that was a warrior, but instead Jesus’ saving grace was not meant for this Earth, but designed for the life hereafter.
- Jesus’ death was brought on by the people he trusted and loved the most. He mentioned his betrayal would be sealed with a kiss and that his apostles would deny him. Why is this important? Even the most faithful of us will experience doubt based on fear of what others will think. Yet these same men who denied Christ, except for Judas, went on to become Jesus’ most ardent followers and supporters, even dying for their beliefs.
- Finally Jesus’ death meant eternal life for us. Probably the most important juxtaposition of the entire story, Jesus died to give us life. His sacrifice was saving opportunity to conquer death.
Why so many contradictions? Because Jesus’ life was different in so many ways. He came to save the world not on a steed, not with a sword, and not followed by an army of men. Jesus saved the world not by taking out the sinful but by dying for our sins. He broke down the barriers of death by dying himself and giving us all a pathway to eternal life.
Join me next week as we discuss how Easter changed everything for all of us and how we can embrace the ultimate gift Christ gave us on the cross.