Ever since the spring like weather has emerged over the last ten days, construction crews have populated our highways. This effort to fix the potholes on our roads is particularly prevalent during my drive to Chicago for seminary classes two days a week. While I must leave my house 10 minutes early in order to avoid being tardy, I feel blessed that our communities have the resources to repair our roads in order to provide safer travel to our various destinations.
While our highways and bi-ways are being paved in the 21st century, the most important journey was celebrated over 2,000 years ago on a road leading into Jerusalem. This journey, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday, marked the grand entrance of our Savior, Jesus Christ, into the city where he would soon be crucified. However, before Jesus became glorified, his disciples obeyed his commands and other believers paved the road with clothes and palm branches as he entered Jerusalem. Yes, this was truly a celebration of Christ's arrival into the Holy Land which led to the fulfillment of his ultimate mission - to provide the gift of salvation to the world through his death and resurrection.
The details of the command by Jesus to his disciples were prophesied many generations earlier in the Old Testament book of Zechariah (9:9). The coming of a Messiah, which had been anticipated for thousands of years in ancient Israel, was becoming a reality. Jesus, knowing the celebration of his arrival was about to occur, says to two of his disciples, "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. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately," (Matthew 21:2-3).
What made this journey so special was the action of the believers in Jesus. Many of the people who were spreading palm branches as Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey were new believers who were raised by the tenets of Judaism. Essentially, they were taking a risk in deserting their Jewish traditions and following Jesus. However, these new believers were entrusted by Jesus with the responsibility of spreading the Good News after his ascension. In our modern Christian society, the joy and hope of Palm Sunday reminds us of our responsibility to celebrate and pave a road for others who perhaps have not yet accepted Jesus as their Savior. Many of us know people who seek a renewed relationship with God. As we approach Holy Week, let us celebrate Palm Sunday by inviting those seekers and non-seekers to a worship service.
Just as the crowd shouted, "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" (Matthew 21:9), our modern-day celebration of Palm Sunday reflects our service by paving the way for others to hear the Good News!