FAITH AND REFLECTION — This past Sunday was Palm Sunday. Sometimes referred to as the “Triumphal Entry,” it is one of the few events in Jesus’ life that is recorded in all four gospels. If you are interested in reading the account, it can be found in Matthew 21:1 – 11 and 14 – 17, Mark 11:1 – 11, Luke 19:29 – 44 and John 12:12 – 19.
I remember, as a young Christian, thinking how amazing it would’ve been to have witnessed Jesus coming into Jerusalem. I would like to have raised my voice in worship and perhaps thrown palm leaves, or my jacket on the road for His processional.
In more recent years I have thought, maybe it is good that I was not there. Perhaps I would’ve failed as many others did, because a lot of those who cried, “Hosanna to the son of David,” just one week later shouted, “crucify Him, crucify Him!” They had gone from hail him to nail him! In Matthew 27:21, when Pontius Pilate gave the people the opportunity to have Jesus freed, they asked for the release of Barabbas instead. They traded the Prince of Peace for a common criminal!
There is an interesting, though not well known theory about Palm Sunday. The theory (the two parade theory), partly conjectural, partly historical, is that as Jesus was travelling east from humble Bethany to the temple by donkey, Pontius Pilate was travelling west from luxurious Caesarea on the shores of the Mediterranean with all of the usual pomp and glory of a Roman official. The part that is historically correct is that both Jesus and Pontius Pilate travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover, where they both arrived and ultimately met. The part that is conjectural is whether these two “parades” actually happened at the same time.
There is an interesting study in contrasts between the two entries. Pontius Pilate came representing the power of Rome and Jesus the kingdom of God. Jesus came humbly and with a handful of disciples, which resulted in many more following and praising Him. Pilate would’ve travelled on a charger or in a chariot with a huge entourage for both prestige and protection. Pilate came because he had to keep an eye on these religious fanatics at their Passover, while Jesus came to keep the Passover. Jesus came to praise, while his Roman counterpart came in paranoia.
In their persons, Pilate was described historically as oppressive, greedy, stubborn, violent and cruel. Jesus is described of as the “Lamb of God,” “the Good Shepherd,” “Bread of Life” and “Prince of Peace.”
One more thing … it is alleged that Pilate, in sadness took his own life. Jesus, in sacrifice gave His life!
I think Jesus rained on Pilate’s parade! Is He reigning in yours?