I can't help but smile when I hear it's "Palm Sunday"; and come to think of it, I even loved it as a kid. Why? Church on Palm Sunday is alive: you know the praise music will be upbeat and people get to wave their own palm fronds. Palm fronds, very cool, they remind me of coconut smelling tanning lotion, which reminds me of swimming at the beach, which reminds me of Jaws. Oops, that is a whole other story
Anyhow, back to Palm Sunday. The gospel account on this day is cool too: The triumphal entry of the Messiah! "Hosanna! Blessed is he who come in the name of the Lord!" Jesus arrives to David's city to be welcomed as King. Finally! However, there is a sinister calm casting a shadow over the events as well: the same people who shout "Hosanna" will cry "Crucify" only five days later. Tragic how fickle people can be!
You and I aren't fickle like that, are we? I hate to admit it, but I am afraid we are.
How many dads wave palm fronds at church, and then come home, only to have their wife and kids treat them as a "King on the throne"? How many moms smile at church on Sunday, yet seek to be "control-freaks" over all they survey the rest of the week? Why are we like this? Sure, were only human. Yes, we have learned bad habits from our culture on how to be independent. But I think our problem is more basic: as Americans we have no idea what it means to be ruled by a "King."
Think about it, people these days demand for their rights: "Right to be happy," "Right to be paid equal," "Right to determine my own gender," "Right to pursue any job of my dream and the Government must help me pay for it," and our kids believe they have "A Right to never to be bored" ("Mom, I wanna watch 'Frozen' for the 125th time!!"). If you don't believe me, try being a coach, teacher or even a pastor these days? Get upset or frustrated at a privileged kid just once, raise your voice to get their attention, or ask them to sacrifice their desired spot for the greater good; and you most likely will have an angry parent breathing down your back who is demanding for your job! A position of title and authority garners not much respect these days.
Being ruled by a King means you have no rights. So when Jesus comes riding to our town, we happily will greet him if he comes to play the role of Friend, Butler, Therapist, or Miracle Worker. However, if he comes as King, good riddance; we surely don't want anyone telling us what to do! C. S. Lewis diagnosed the modern man's problem perfectly in his essay called "God in the Dock":
The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge (and for that matter, King). For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.”
Simply stated, somehow in our modern minds, roles have been reversed: we are the ruling kings and queens and God is our servant, he must do what we want!
Palm Sunday didn't just happen 2,000 years ago, but it happens everyday. Jesus is daily riding into our lives as King. The question is not how loud we can sing "Hosanna!", but what areas in our life cause us to cry "Crucify?" Every time I stop believing and obeying his word, every time I make demands from him, or expect things to "always" go my way, I have stolen his throne. If Jesus really is your King, and I mean really, you will find your delight in serving Him (Ps. 37:4).
Oh to be like him: "For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."