This week we remember and honor Palm Sunday. It is often said that we celebrate Palm Sunday, but is that truly the appropriate word? Celebrate? When our children wave palm branches while we sing festive hymns or praise songs in an opening processional, it seems like such an innocent and joyous event. We shout, “Hosanna! Hosanna to the King of Kings!” as a call of jubilation, when actually it is a cry for help. “Save us! Save us, rebellious leader!” What happens if we look at Palm Sunday from a new perspective? What if we look at it from Jesus’ perspective?
Jesus entered Jerusalem fully aware of what awaited him. The concepts of human free will and God’s omniscience (all-knowing characteristic) seem in conflict on Palm Sunday, almost as much as in the garden of Gethsemane just a few short days later. Jesus knew the Hebrew people desired a civil rebellion against the Roman occupancy. Jesus knew his call was greater than this moment in history. Jesus knew the people he loved, and the very people he had come to save, would betray him to both religious and governmental authorities. What did Palm Sunday look like to him as he rode into Jerusalem on the back of that donkey?
One of our most human characteristics is selfishness. Our instinct to survive and our desire for self-satisfaction make selfish choices the easy ones—whining when we don’t get our way, wallowing in self-pity when life is going wrong, even gloating in victory or rejoicing over major life events. But, as Christians, we are called to love one another, to serve one another, to weep when others weep, and to rejoice when others rejoice. Our challenge is to look beyond ourselves long enough to see the world from another’s perspective: through the eyes of Christ.