They match, really, these two days. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem two thousand years ago the people met him with an expectation Jesus would not fulfill. The bloodlust, riled against the Roman empire, could not let the King of Peace come and stay. At the end of “Palm Sunday,” King Jesus wanders down to Bethany instead of staying in the capital city Jerusalem.
Like April Fools? Sure: when we do our pranks and say, “Ah, relax! I was just kidding! April Fools!”
Now, Jesus wasn’t being sinister. He was hoping for a prepared heart, a prepared people, a people who’d been immersed in the anticipations the prophets had written (and gotten killed for). He’d have rather gathered the people like a mom gives a good hug – but they’d have nothing to do with that. Embrace wasn’t their hope – vengeance was. (And it remains this way for the un-renovated heart – may God have mercy and work to change us.)
And for today? I wonder why we make such a big celebration out of Palm Sunday. It’s the day where we remember a human failure to see the king as the king was going to be (rather than as a fulfillment to our national desires, identities, etc.).
How can we adapt? Come the end of this week we’ll see the king beginning Jesus’ rule as he’s lifted high. Come the Monday after Easter we’ll see if the king we celebrated on Good Friday and Easter Sunday is someone we truly desire to have as our king. (Grace will flavor our steps and intentions.) If we cannot change and will not see change in our lives, each day will be a perpetual Palm Sunday – an unfortunate declaration of a king who’s not really our king.