This Sunday, Pastor Erik shared a great message about the first “palm” Sunday and the meaning, to the people in the crowd, greeting Jesus, of the palm branches. In case you missed it, here’s a brief synopsis:
Before Jesus was born, a man named Judas Maccabee led a revolt against those who we’re oppressing Israel. After this successful rebellion, Israel used the palm branch as a symbol of their nationalistic desires. When the crowd grabbed palm branches and waved them at Jesus, they were doing it as a symbol of their desire for Jesus to overthrow the Romans and deliver Israel from her oppressors.
The crowd was looking for a revolutionary. The Jewish leaders feared that Jesus was a revolutionary.
Let me be clear: Jesus was, is, and always will be a revolutionary.
But want kind of revolutionary?
Not a military one. Not a political one. Even labeling Him a religious revolutionary seems a bit too small.
No Jesus was a “life” revolutionary: He came to turn it all upside down, one life at a time. He came to bring peace with God, to end the hostilities between us and the Father. He came not to restore and old, earthly kingdom but to announce and inaugurate a new, eternal one. And though He did come to bring religion to a point of culmination, He also came to transcend the sterile, legalistic atmosphere that had clouded religion for centuries and clear the way for men and women to be in direct relationship with God.
He came to start a revolution, but not what was expected. He didn’t march into the governor’s palace and demand that he and his soldiers leave. He did incite the crowd to violence. He went to the Temple, to what should have been the centerpiece of Jewish militant, political, and religious life, and He judged it unworthy. He began His revolution by turning over tables and chasing away the defilers of God’s Temple.
Jesus still wants to bring a revolution: He wants to turn our lives upside down. Yes, He does this initially through our salvation, but in a very big way, He does this each and every day as His Spirit works within us to make us more like Him. We call this “sanctification,” being set apart for God’s purposes. The Temple was supposed to be set apart, but it wasn’t. That’s why Jesus started there. He caused a revolution where there already should have been order—God’s order.
Our hearts should be in order—God’s order—but as we approach Easter, as our fast comes to a close, let’s remember to create space for Jesus, to give Him room to bring a revolution, to ensure that our heart is in order. Jesus wants a revolution, and it starts with us. From there, it spreads to our family, our friends, our world. He’s a “life” revolutionary, bringing us not only a new way of living but also a new life to live, His life.
If we grasp in our hearts the fact that Jesus died for us, it will change us completely: it will mean revolution; it will make something new out of us to the destruction of our sinful self so that we will no longer be slaves to it.
J. Heinrich Arnold, Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind