It’s Palm Sunday! Welcome to the Palm Sunday Parade! We’ve set up our Broadcast Booth here on the hillside overlooking the holy city of Jerusalem.
From here we can look out over the Holy City — rows and rows of houses; the Business District on the right; to the left is Herod’s Palace; and in the heart of the city is the Temple of Jehovah, gleaming like gold in the morning sun.
As we turn our cameras the other direction, we can look out across the Kidron Valley. Thousands of pilgrims are streaming into the city. Everyone has come here to celebrate the Passover!
We all know the story behind this celebration! Centuries ago, the people of God were slaves in Egypt They cried out to God to save them; and God did! God “plagued” Pharoah until he released the slaves; God sent the Death Angel over the land — many people died that night; only those who had the blood of the sacrificial lamb marked on their doorpost were saved!
God “passed over” the faithful! So, each year God’s people celebrate, and remember how God saved them from slavery and brought them freedom!
Wait! We’ve just received word that Jesus has left the village of Bethany and is headed this way. Some say he’s the Promised One, the Messiah!
Many in this crowd expect Jesus to proclaim himself king. Expect him to lead a rebellion against mighty Rome. Expect him to usher in a new day of freedom!
There are others who say that Jesus is nothing more that just a great teacher. Yet, everyone expects Jesus to cause trouble here at the Passover!
While we’re waiting, we have some background material on this Controversial man. He was born in a back-water town, Bethlehem, under strange circumstances. King Herod tried to have him killed; but the family escaped to Egypt.
Years later, the family returned to settle in another small
town, Nazareth; and we all know what they say: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” About 3 years ago, this Jesus “heard God’s call” and became an itinerant preacher.
Since then, Jesus has traveled all across this land, teaching, preaching, healing, performing miracles. This has led many to believe that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God!
Many others simply say that Jesus in no more than the human son of Joseph. Whatever you choose to believe about this man, his teaching and his actions have caused quite a controversy!
Just a moment! I understand that Jesus has been sighted! Here’s our reporter down on the main road: “We can see Jesus clearly; he’s getting on a donkey — our sources say that his disciples were sent into the city this morning, and secured this particular donkey by some pre-arranged signal.
“People are clearing a path for Jesus. The crowds are lining the road into Jerusalem; they’re shouting and singing and throwing palm branches in front of Jesus — rolling out the red carpet for the King. Can you hear what they’re shouting? ‘Hosanna in the highest! Make way for the Messiah!’
“Jesus is passing right in front of us now. This should be a joyous day for him; but I can see tears in his eyes as he nears the Holy City.”
Well, there you have it! The Palm Sunday Parade! The crowds continue to stream into Jerusalem. One can’t help but wonder what will happen to this man, Jesus.
Will he make peace with the authorities? Will he tone down his message of repentance? Ow rill he continue to be the center of controversy? Will the authorities have him put to death?
What does our television audience think? Is Jesus simply the son of Joseph or is he truly the Son of God? Is he merely a teacher or is he the Savior?
How we answer will make all the difference in our lives!
By Dr. Don Kuehle
(Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor in Missouri.)