Palm Sunday. The day of Jesus’ brilliant subversion of the Empire—mocking both the Roman authorities and the Jewish religious authorities. Such audacity. If the disciples were anxious for Jesus before they returned to Jerusalem, I can only imagine how they felt when Jesus entered Jerusalem with all that fanfare.
Jesus wasn’t subtle on Palm Sunday. He took on the establishment—the Empire—in outlandish ways: miracles on the Sabbath, teaching in the synagogue, growing up in Nazareth, continuously challenging the religious authorities.
Then Palm Sunday. The crowd in Jerusalem asked, “Who is this man?” I’m sure the religious authorities asked that question long before Palm Sunday with increasing bewilderment to annoyance to anger to fury to planning his assassination.
The religious authorities also asked: “Who does he think he is?”
Who did Jesus think he was?
God. Showing us Love.
- Love that continuously flows toward us.
- Love that is beyond our comprehension.
- Love that we receive in small amounts because receiving larger amounts is overwhelming for us.
- Love that believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- Love is. Love is generous and kind, thinking the best of the Other, of wanting what is best for the Other.
- Love is humble—not boastful or needing to elbow Others out of their place in line.
- Love doesn’t classify who is important and who isn’t important.
- Love doesn’t judge but honors Others.
The ways of the Empire do not work in Love. The Empire views Love as a threat and will do whatever is necessary to squelch Love. The Empire believes it has ultimate control and power (although how hard it works to maintain power reveals how slippery that power actually is). The Empire doesn’t really understand that Love is the real power—kindheartedness, gentleness, humility, modesty, generosity, yieldedness. These qualities are perceived by the Empire as weaknesses and foolishness and responds with disdain and sneers.
But Love remains. Despite all the attempts of the Empire to squelch Love, Love remains.
(For an earlier Palm Sunday reflection, here).