Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate the triumphant return of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before His crucifixion and resurrection. The Bible recounts His return to throngs of cheering people who waved palm fronds and shouted his glory. Unfortunately, these crowds of people had expectations of an “earthly king,” a king that would use might to conquer the Romans, rather than love and compassion through sacrifice. The realization that Jesus would not lead that type of army caused their cheers of joy to turn to calls of rage quickly. Although Jesus was meant to save them, it was not in the way they had imagined. They wanted immediate and decisive deliverance from their earthly ills, pains, and captors.
Now, as you read the Bible, you can understand why these expectations were not wholly unwarranted. Everything Jesus had done up until this point had been building this type of enthusiasm and excitement. For three years, Jesus built His ministry toward this day.
- He performed one miracle after another miracle.
- He healed the sick, the lame, the blind, the diseased.
- He attracted one crowd after another to teach them about the coming Kingdom of God.
Many of us fall into the same expectations as the crowd in Jerusalem did. We celebrate a God that will follow our agenda. We think that if He is all-powerful, our wants and needs should be child’s play to accomplish. We hope that His desires will align with ours. But when that doesn’t happen, we turn away and look for more immediate options—money and power. We seek to raise our own kingdom here on Earth, rather than look to the heavens for the more reliable and eternal Kingdom of God.
So what is God’s Kingdom? Here is how the Bible describes it:
- Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36
- In Luke 17:21 Jesus declared “… the kingdom of God is within you.”
- And Romans 14:17 taught us “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
If we check our expectations at the door and look to the higher cause, we will find that our needs (not necessarily our wants) will be wholly met… and then some.