Hello Church Family, this is Pastor Phil.
The reading for this Palm Sunday, Sunday of the Passion is from John 12:12-19.
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So, they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So, the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
To me, this COVID-19 crisis feels like that day on Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered triumphantly into Jerusalem. At first, people were cheering and having a good time. Crowds of faithful were there to celebrate the Passover and it was a huge celebration. Businesses were buying and selling, people were going about their day to day lives, everything was normal. The disciples of Jesus were the same; they were having a good time, enjoying the crowds and the cheers and the celebration.
Then it felt like everything changed overnight.
Then it was the Sunday of the Passion. Jesus is arrested, brought to trial, the crowds that just a few days ago were shouting out “Hosanna, alleluia, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” were now shouting, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Nothing would be the same again.
For us, it feels like everything changed overnight. Even though, like on Palm Sunday, it was a progression of days and events that brought about the change to the Sunday of the Passion, it still feels like one day we were doing all of our normal things and the next day, we’re making a mad dash for toilet paper in empty aisles at Walmart. Like a flip of a switch, so many of the things that we were used to, that we relied upon for our stability and security were different and gone in the blink of an eye, and now we are responding to what this new normal looks like and means for us.
On that day, over 2,000 years ago, what didn’t change was Jesus. When the crowds were cheering his name and shouting, “Hosanna in the highest” or when the crowds were shouting “Crucify Him,” Jesus remained the same. Instead, Jesus’ eyes were fixed like flint, like stone, on where He was always going to, to the cross and to the empty tomb. From the very beginning, from the moment Jesus was promised to the world, to the moment He was born of the Virgin Mary, throughout his earthly life and ministry, no matter what was going on all around Him, Jesus remained the same.
Jesus remained the same because Jesus was always here to be with you and me for one reason alone. To be our Savior. To be your Savior. To bring you back to your Heavenly Father and to save you from all of your hurts and all of the brokenness in this world.
That hasn’t changed and Jesus hasn’t changed. We got used to things going a certain way, to the crowds and the cheers and the normal day to day life and then it wasn’t that way anymore, people are scared, life is different, and we truly don’t know what it will look like in the future.
But Jesus is still the same. Jesus was still our savior when life was “normal” and Jesus is still our savior now when life is different. In all of the changes and chances of an earthly life the one and only part of this life that will never change is the security we have in the unchanging Jesus.
While there is so much that we can’t control in the situation around us, what we can do is rest—rest and be at peace by resting in the arms of Jesus. Fall back and be calm, give all of your worries and fears and anxieties to Him. Let your unchanging Savior Jesus hold you and keep you, safe and secure.
Jesus is the one place in everything else where you can know for sure that His love, His peace, His security will never change, no matter what else does.
On this Palm Sunday and Sunday of the Passion it is time for you and me to rest in the arms of Jesus.