The great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord — the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!” (John 12:12-19)
Today is a Sunday with a split personality.
It is both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.
Our worship starts with the upbeat Gospel telling of the party atmosphere that erupts when Jesus rides into Jerusalem. It’s a festive affair, complete with a parade route lined by palm branches. But quickly the party’s over, and our Scripture lessons turn dark as we fast-forward to Friday and the stark story of the Lord’s passion and death.
Yes, the story is harsh. But it is bearable only because we already know its happy ending. Palm/Passion Sunday leads us to Good Friday, but thanks be to God, Sunday’s coming. Hear that Good News in the words of L.M. Lockridge:
Jesus is praying.
Peter’s a sleeping.
Judas is betraying.
But Sunday’s comin’.
The council is conspiring.
The crowd is vilifying.
They don’t even know that Sunday’s comin’.
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd.
Peter is denying.
But they don’t know that Sunday’s a comin’.
The Romans beat my Jesus.
They robe him in scarlet.
They crown him with thorns.
But they don’t know that Sunday’s comin’.
See Jesus walking to Calvary.
His blood dripping.
His body stumbling.
And his spirit’s burdened.
But you see, it’s only Friday.
The world’s winning.
People are sinning.
And evil’s grinning.
The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands to the cross.
They nail my Savior’s feet to the cross.
And then they raise him up next to criminals.
But let me tell you something,
The disciples are questioning.
What has happened to their King.
And the Pharisees are celebrating
That their scheming has been achieved.
But they don’t know It’s only Friday.
He’s hanging on the cross.
Feeling forsaken by his Father.
Left alone and dying.
Can nobody save him?
Ooooh It’s Friday.
But Sunday’s comin’.
The earth trembles.
The sky grows dark.
My King yields his spirit.
Hope is lost.
Death has won.
Sin has conquered and Satan’s just a laughin’.
Jesus is buried.
A soldier stands guard.
And a rock is rolled into place.
But it’s Friday. It is only Friday.
Sunday is a comin’!