Saturday, 13 April 2019
I must admit I am ambivalent about Palm Sunday.
There is a lot of hosannaring and declaring of Jesus as King.
But many in the crowd, and even the disciples, were expecting a political and military King in the style of David who would liberate them from the Roman occupation.
This may explain why many of them turned against him by Friday after he had ignored the Romans and attacked the Jewish religious leadership.
But why did Jesus go to Jerusalem?
Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious faith.
It was here that the shepherds of Israel had their Temple.
I believe that Jesus' attitude to the shepherds was a reflection of the prophets.
"The shepherds also have no understanding; they have all turned to their own gain, one and all." Isaiah 56:11 (NRSV)
"Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the sheep. You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them." Ezekiel 34:2-4 (NRSV)
This explains Jesus' criticism of the Pharisees and his status as a spiritual leader not a temporal one.
It also explains Jesus' mysterious injunction to Peter: "Feed my sheep." John 21:17 (NRSV)
So I am ambivalent about Palm Sunday.
I am not sure whether to be jubilant or sad.
[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
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