The people of Jerusalem waved their palms madly to celebrate the entry of Jesus into their town. Less than seven days later, Jesus was tortured and executed in the same place. Though Palm Sunday is a time to celebrate, I can never get past the fact that the same palm wavers either participated in or did nothing to stop the execution of Jesus. The lesson of the juxtaposition should be one of caution.
Emily and I don’t have a tremendous amount of close friends. We are too skeptical for that. Truth be known, we have experienced far too many showdowns where no one showed up to help. We have known many palm waivers who stand on the sidelines waving palms at us in the moments of triumph and who run for the hills when times get difficult. In our ministry, we have learned to love generously and trust cautiously.
How did so many people praise Jesus and either participate or do nothing when he was executed less than a week later? While certainly a complex question, I think one should never underestimate the desire that humans have to praise and be praised by institutions. The people decided that power was more important than love.
We live in a day and age where everyone wants to talk about power. The palm wavers thought that Jesus was about power and they wanted to be on the winning team. When everyone realized that he was about love, the execution went pretty smoothly. Thousands of years later, people largely remain the same.
Love is always going to be far more dangerous than power.
Beware of the palm wavers who might try to convince you otherwise.