Lessons From Palm Sunday

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  Many Christian traditions don’t emphasize this event in the church calendar, but I’m thankful for others that do because they give us an opportunity to reflect on important moments in the life of Christ, and, what they mean for us today.

What can Palm Sunday remind us of as we follow Christ in his ministry of healing?

To answer that question, we first need to understand what Palm Sunday is all about.  Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ final approach to Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19), the royal city, while his disciples praised Him, hoping he would be the Messiah and King spoken of by the Old Testament (see Psalm 118:25-26; Zechariah 9:9, for example).  As a sign of their hopes for Him, the people laid their cloaks and palm branches down in front of Jesus.  Not everyone, though, was pleased: the religious leaders, or Pharisees, told Jesus to silence His disciples.  And, just a week later, Jesus would be crucified as the nation rejected Him.  This made Jesus deeply sad, and He wept for the people who would so soon turn on Him (Luke 19:41).

So, what can we learn?

First, Palm Sunday is a call for us personally to remember that Christ is our King.  Before we can offer Him to others, we need to ask where we stand in our relationship to Him very practically.  Are there areas of our lives where we’ve grown cold or disobedient to Him?

Second, Jesus’ sadness over those who were rejecting Him is a powerful example for us.  It’s easy to harden our hearts to those who reject Christ.  Or, perhaps you find yourself getting callous to patients who are non-compliant.  Maybe you’re frustrated with colleagues who ridicule or dismiss your faith.  But Jesus cared deeply about those who hated him the most because He saw the destruction their choices would bring (see Luke 19:42-44).  It takes work and reliance on God, but we need soft hearts toward even the most difficult people around us.

Finally, Christ’s kingly entrance into Jerusalem, and the different responses He encountered, remind us that matters of eternity are before us every day.  Ideally, as we care for patients, interact with staff on the floors, run into classmates and talk with people at the checkout line, they see in us a picture of the Coming King and have an opportunity to make a choice for Him while there’s still time.  Out of love for God and others, are we willing to take a risk and point them in His direction?

Feel free to share your own reflections on Palm Sunday in the comments section.

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