On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem in glory and triumph. The crowd laid branches of palms on the road and made a parade. The disciples and the crowd were singing “Hosanna,” a Hebrew expression of adoration and praise. Generally, the word meant praise for deliverance, both granted or anticipated. Literally, it meant “Lord, save us.” The crowd associated the arrival of Jesus as Messiah with the upcoming Jewish Passover festival.
With a careful reading of the Scripture, we notice that Jesus was not smiling while the crowd sang Hosanna. He was weeping. Jesus entered the temple and immediately his tears turned to anger. He overturned the tables of the money changers. Jesus knew the stakes when he entered Jerusalem and his emotions were raw. He knew what was coming. The crowd was oblivious. The disciples were self-absorbed. They didn’t notice his heightened stress, even when he told them. They couldn’t stay awake on the night of his arrest. Jesus prayed alone in anguish.
It is easy to become self-absorbed in our busy lives. We are so caught up in our own troubles, we often do not see the anguish in others. Only after their crisis blows up in front of us, do we recognize the signs we missed. We were not paying attention. Jesus taught us to love our neighbor. This begins with loving him. He taught us to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.
I encourage you to put some love on Jesus this Holy Week. Easter is not just about Hosanna. There is a deeper purpose than merely our salvation. Jesus saves us, but we are self-absorbed if we stop there. The deeper meaning of Easter is about relationship with the Risen Christ. You can put love on Jesus this Holy Week by engaging Scripture. Pay attention to the details in the Passion, not just the Resurrection. Come to worship for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, The Easter Vigil, and Sunday morning.
We tell the story over a period of four days with four services. Can you stay awake for Jesus? The whole story is greater than just the parts, or just one part. The prize is a friendship with the Risen Christ. The coming joy is worth the effort of Holy Week.
Hosanna, and Happy Easter!