Palm Sunday is an interesting event in Christianity. There are really two separate events going on at the same time; just from different perspectives.
From the disciples and crowds perspective, Jesus is riding into Jerusalem, preparing to take His throne as the earthly king they’ve always expected Him to be. The Palm branches, the coat laying, the singing, all of it indicates that Jesus is supposed to take the political power from Caesar and establish the kingdom of God in the holy land. The oppression is over, and the king is making His triumphal entry into power. It’s a victory lap, essentially for Christ.
It was all a premature celebration.
But Christ saw it for what it was: the final, hardest leg of His journey.
Christ understood that this parade into Jerusalem was not going to end well for Him, and certainly not how the disciples and crowds expected it to end. He saw plainly what was coming; betrayal, arrest, torture, and execution.
And still, He rode into town that day.
We will all experience moments like Christ did that Palm Sunday. They may not be to the same extent, but they are nonetheless present in our lives. Moments where we see what we’re walking into. Moments where we know the path we’re own is going to cost us, sometimes dearly. There may only be a handful of these moments in our lives, but they will occur.
And those moments will define our lives.
Somewhere along the way, we as a church seemed to get the idea that because grace was free it was also cheap. Somehow, we got it in our minds that the path of Christ was something we could walk without costing us.
The path Christ took through Jerusalem cost Him dearly. And He didn’t have to take it. He could have waited, continued a preaching circuit in the country and avoided the trouble. He could have avoided the pain and heart break of being left to die alone, abandoned by His closest friends. He could have avoided the cost.
But something in Christ knew He couldn’t just walk away. Something in Christ wouldn’t let Him walk away. His convictions told Him that without walking this path, without finishing this race, the path would have only been traveled half way. The purpose for grace would remain incomplete.
So Christ, stripping away humanly desires for comfort and joy, driven by His convictions of grace and love for all, Christ kept walking His path. It was a defining moment, but not the one we might expect.
What conviction has God laid on you? How has God grasped your heart? What is the path God is calling you to walk? And what will it cost you?
These are the questions that we must ask. And they are the questions that terrify us, because the answers could cost us.
But without the perseverance to press on, we will only ever experience half of the Gospel, which is in turn, no Gospel at all. Without the conviction to follow God’s path for us, no matter where it leads, we cannot experience the true fullness God has for us.