Swapping palm branches for nails
On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus was worshipped as the long-awaited King of Israel.
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” cried the crowd (Luke 19:38).
Within seven days that same Jerusalem crowd had had a sudden change of heart: “Crucify him!” (Luke 23:21).
What could account for such a sudden U-turn? To find an answer, I look no further than myself.
It’s a Sunday morning.
I’ve just heard about the glory of King Jesus. I’m singing with my brothers and sisters in response to his greatness. I have no doubt that he’s worthy of my praise and obedience to his every command.
And then I get home.
Before I even take my shoes off, I’ve sinned. I’ve made a careless comment. I’ve waited for my wife to serve me. I’ve disobeyed my King.
Forget a week – only an hour has passed before I’ve denied him, rejected him and placed his crown on my own head.
I’ve swapped my palm branches for nails.
Jesus knew that the crowds would disperse. He knew even his friends would desert him: “You will all fall away” (Mark 14:27).
Surely they’d never desert their king? Not his closest friends. Not me.
“Then everyone deserted him and fled.” Mark 15:50
Jesus walked the Calvary Road alone. The only worship he received was the mocking praise of the Roman guards who put a purple robe around him and shouted, “Hail, king of the Jews” (Mark 15:18).
But his lonely suffering wasn’t without purpose.
In mockery Jesus the King was clothed with a royal robe and crown of thorns, so that we, the mockers, would be clothed with his royal righteousness and heavenly crown (Philippians 3:9).
This is our king, who died for those with nails in their hands.