The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” John 12:12-13 (ESV)
The story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem reveals confusion about what He came to do. Despite Jesus having repeatedly explained that He would die and then rise again, the Jewish expectations and preconceptions about their Messiah kept even those closest to Him from understanding. As big and wonderful as their expectations were, the reality was far bigger and further reaching. The Jews wanted to be freed from Roman rule, and see Israel restored to her former glory. Jesus came to free the entire world from enslavement to sin, and to restore all of creation to a redeemed relationship with our Creator God.
As we move through Easter Week this year, we are not going to be able to experience the familiarity and comfort of many of our family and community rituals. We will find creative ways to fill those voids, but everything is so very different. In our family, we are already mourning not being able to serve a large, elaborate Easter feast to our extended family. We will certainly miss being physically together to celebrate with our faith community.
Our world is different right now, but Jesus hasn’t changed one bit. The way we remember and celebrate those events of 2000 years ago may be changed by necessity, but the events we celebrate haven’t changed. As individuals and as a faith community, we are given an opportunity to focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord without all the extra stuff.
Many of the traditions and expectations of Easter will be set aside this year, and that is uncomfortable. What remains, however, is eternal. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again! Jesus is LORD! And our Lord has overcome death!
And come Easter Sunday, we will continue to remind the world:
He is risen indeed!
Pete Celano – Campus Shepherd