So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!” John 12:13
There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” John 19:18-19
So which is it? “Hosanna!” or “Crucify him!”
We are at the point in the Christian story that tears in two directions. On the one hand, we want to celebrate who Jesus is and the work that he does. On the other hand, Jesus’ work is transformational and challenges us to be open to letting go of things that get in the way of God’s will and taking up things that further it. It can cause the most faithful followers of Jesus to seek real transformation. But it can also be more than we want to do – the easy walk of just being a church member may be far less challenging than the real work of joining in the work of Jesus.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which is also the Sunday of the Passion. These two realities frame our experience of Jesus. We want to lift him up and honor him some times – we love to be the people with the palms. But at the same time, it is our sinfulness and the sinfulness of the world that also lifted him up on the cross to die – we are also the people with the nails (which is not as much fun to admit).
As the next week unfolds, take some time to reflect. What about your walk with Jesus is worth celebrating? –Make a moment in your reflection time to give thanks. What about your walk with Jesus needs to change? Use Holy Week as a chance to repent (the term we use for committing take on the important work of change).
The work of Jesus brings us life. Following Jesus allows us to live more fully. It isn’t always the easiest route. But it may be the most fulfilling way to live the lives we have been given.
Have a blessed Holy Week.