21:1 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,21:2 saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 21:3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 21:4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 21:5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”21:6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 21:7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 21:8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 21:10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 21:11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Palm Sunday, we celebrate our Lord’s triumphant entry into the city.
The holiest of Holy weeks. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus invited people to follow him. From tax collectors to fishermen, to farmers and slaves with nothing, Jesus called people.
Today we are called – but how do we respond?
Do we come just as we are, stay just as we want, and leave just as we were?
Perhaps God’s greatest grace is the transformation we each can undergo. When the old self passes away, and we are new again in Christ. We are redeemed and renewed in Christ.
God transforms us to new meaning, new purpose, new lives.
For example, Abraham was not always Abraham.
Before the journey, before the wandering in the desert, before the child born to a ninety-nine-year-old man, before sand grains became promises, before a faith so strong as to be willing to sacrifice a son, there was Abram. Called to follow. Called to a wilderness journey where stars were like grains of sand.
Settled, retired, and comfortable. An old man, called to be a new father, with a young family and an elderly wife. A life transformed, dedicated to discerning the good, acceptable, perfect will of God. Transformed by God’s own hand, Abram became Abraham.
There was another man, a hot-head who jumped to conclusions and misunderstood everything.
Before walking away from fishing nets, called to fish for people, before jumping out of a boat, only to sink, before rising to walk on water, before the confession and the denial, before foot-washing and broken bread in the upper room, before running to the tomb, he was Simon.
Transformed in the perfect will of God, he became the rock, recognizing the truth of the empty tomb, confessing Jesus as Savior, right to the point of his own death.
Transformed, transfigured by God’s own hand, Simon became Peter.
And then there was a man from Tarsus, who studied the scriptures and helped to murder Stephen. A blasphemer, a persecutor, a man of violence, who called himself the greatest sinner who ever lived.
Before Damascus, before the letters, before the thorn in his side, before preaching to the Gentiles, before Antioch, he was a racist, holding the coats . . . doing the dirty work for others, persecuting innocent followers of a new faith.
Before a voice asked, ‘why are you persecuting me,’ when he was mentally blind to the truth, and before he was physically blinded to the world, before he was lowered in a basket, before imprisonment, he was Saul.
But called to a new journey, to where there is no difference between slave and free, Jew and Gentile; Preaching Christ crucified, and Jesus is Lord . . . imprisoned, stoned, whipped, beaten and bound, and above all, loyally committed to the cause of Christ.
Transformed, Saul became Paul.
Life is always being transformed, and transfigured, by God’s own hand.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus calls us towards the city of Jerusalem, and the celebration.
Scripture reminds us, that who we were in the past, doesn’t bind us to what we may become, in the future. Just as the story doesn’t end at the cross, but continues to an empty tomb, our stories don’t end with who we are, but continue to who God calls us to be.
Let me make it plain. Who you are, is not who you have to be. When God calls you, God transforms you into a new person. With new ideas, a new view of things, a new way of living.
My grandmother used to sing the old Billie Holliday song, “They’ll be Some Changes Made.”
She would sing, “I’m going to change my way of living, and if that ain’t enough, Then I’ll change the way that I strut my stuff.”
The song starts this way . . . “For there’s a change in the weather, There’s a change in the sea. From now on there’ll be a change in me. My walk will be different, my talk and my name. Nothing about me is going to be the same.”
The Lord God looked at Abram, and said, “They’ll be some changes made.”
The Lord looked at humanity, and said, “They’ll be some changes made,” and so the Lord sent Jesus.
Jesus looked around, and said, “they’ll be some changes made,” and called Simon to help him make the changes. Simon responded, “yes Lord,” and Jesus transformed Simon to Peter.
And on the day of Pentecost, touched by fire and the Holy Spirit, Peter said, “they’ll be some changes made.” And thousands were baptized and received the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Saul, a dirty sinner, called to follow, responded to the blinding, mighty, power of the Lord God, and said, “they’ll be some changes made. My walk will be different, my talk and my name. Nothing about me is gonna be the same.”
“They’ll be some changes made.”
And this Easter, when each of us is called to follow, let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Let us respond, “Yes, Lord, they’ll be some changes made.”