On Sunday, five days before Friday, the shouts were loud.
“Hosanna to the son of David
Hosanna, Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord,
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David
Hosanna, peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”
cf. Matt. 21:4-9; Mark 11:7-11; Luke 19:35-38; John 12:12-15
Hope, in Jerusalem was high. That is why the palm branches were cut and laid down on the road. The palm was a popular nationalistic symbol for Israel. It was a bold and potentially dangerous move on the part of the people. The Roman conquerors, the occupation force was everywhere present in Jerusalem. They oversee from their posts above the commotion as Jesus rides into town among the swelling crowds of the Passover season. To understand it we have to imagine something that perhaps is closer to us in time. Imagine a formation of Nazi tanks rolling through the streets of Paris and then, from a side street, a group of Parisians, all of them carrying French flags, approach with a parade behind a Frenchman being lauded as their leader. Dangerous indeed. And something that could not happen without the emboldening of nationalistic hope.
Three and a half years of public ministry,
- all the teaching he had done,
- all the prophecies he fulfilled,
- all the people he had healed,
- all the momentous events that had been gossiped about him and now,
- on the eve of the Passover, the one they had tried to acknowledge as king many times is riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to the acclaim of young and old.
Yet, five days later, he hangs on a cross from noon to three while a preternatural darkness covers the land. It was not an eclipse. Eclipses last minutes not hours.
“Please, save us” on Sunday.
Hope obliterated on Friday.
But it is not the end of the story.
Sunday is coming.
Resurrection is coming.
Sorrow will one day be banished from the universe.