When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what we call “Palm Sunday“, he was picking a precise moment to force a choice. The choice was between being ready and being unready: it was call to “understand the time.”
In Luke 19v44, it is spelt out: “They did not recognize the time of God‘s coming”.
When we were tiny, I remember getting ready for an important visit. I can’t quite remember who it was who was coming, but I remember the Getting Ready. The house tidied and swept, we children in our Sunday best, and on our best behaviour. Special foods and trimmings. And afterwards, standing in line to be kissed (dim recollection of this rubber plunger coming through the sky) and being given Two Shillings. Imagine! And the visit complete.
So we knew what was coming, and we got ready for it. We understood the time.
Jesus told many stories about those who did and those who didn’t. Luke 19 opens with an account of Zaccheus, a picture of someone looking for the coming of the king, as if his tree was a watchtower, and who recognizes him when he comes, and who receives him. Jesus says, simply, “Salvation has come to this house.” And it’s done.
Then he tells a story of a group of servants (vv11-27) who receive money in trust from their master. Some use it wisely, whilst others do not. The point, again, is: Are they ready for the return of their master? Do they understand that the time for an accounting is at hand?
Luke adds an important aside here: “He told them this story because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the Kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” You have to understand the time correctly. In one sense, be ready, like Zaccheus, for the king to come. In another, work through with what you have towards a final accounting.
Do you know what time it is? Are you ready for the visit?
And then the story of the Entry into Jerusalem itself, which is described in my translation here as “Jesus comes to Jerusalem as King: Luke 19:28-38.” In one sense it is a strategic, prophetic declaration that says “Now is the time.” And the choice is forced between those who worship and receive him (vv37 and 38) and those who doubt and criticize (v39).
It’s a remarkable division. In v40, Jesus says that he cannot restrain the shouts of praise, because, if he did, “The stones would cry out!” I can understand the Psalmist speaking of “Trees clapping their hands” and “The heavens declaring the glory of the Lord” but this takes it to a new level. The inanimate is animated!
And then in v44, weeping over the coming refusal to receive, he prophesies a Jerusalem where “the stones are cast down.”
Do you see it? The choice is made between stones that cry out and stones that are cast down, between praise and disaster.
Choose today. The King is coming.
- What You Need to Know about Palm Sunday (theriverbankchicago.wordpress.com)
- Missing the Day of Your Visitation (guycarey.wordpress.com)
- Palm Sunday (swordsoftruth.com)
- Palm Sunday (givemeliberty01.com)
- Carissimi; Sunday’s Mass: Palm Sunday (frjeromeosjv.wordpress.com)
- 9 things you need to know about Palm Sunday (ncregister.com)
- The Jewish Roots of Palm Sunday and the Passion (thesacredpage.com)
- March 24, 2013 – Palm Sunday (circleofhopedailyprayer2013.wordpress.com)
- Palm Sunday (benethillmonastery.com)