Two Parades: Which One Do I Want To March In?
You may already know this, but just in case you don’t… there were two parades on Palm Sunday – the day of the Triumphant Entry of Jesus! Historians tell us that Pontius Pilot, the Governor of Judea led a procession of Roman cavalry and centurions into the city of Jerusalem. It was quite the scene. Roman soldiers on horseback and on foot – all dressed in their shiny armor and full military garb. They proudly wore their weapons. Some carried swords; others carried spears and still others carried bows and arrows. This was a parade of force – a parade that fully showed the might of the powerful Roman army; the Roman army that had conquered and enslaved so many nations. Contrast that with the next parade… Jesus, humbly, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. People yelling, Hosanna – Hosanna meaning, “save now”. The people laid down palm branches symbolizing victory …and their cloaks as an act of homage and submission. They wildly cheered as Jesus rode into the city. They yelled, ” Hosanna, Blessed be the the King of Israel. Wow! both were pretty impressive. The “earthly” ruler – with all his pomp and circumstance – showing his might and prowess. The “heavenly” ruler – coming humbly; willing to pay the price for a world of lost sinners. The first ruler – quick to enslave and demand submission at the threat of death. The second – quick to offer freedom through surrender to His heavenly rule and also offers unconditional love. The first – paid the price for his rule with the blood of the helpless and of those he ruled. The second – paid for the freedom with His own precious blood.
Anyone would think that people would choose the incredible love offered by Christ. BUT… a week later the same crowd yelled crucify! WHY? How could the same group of people yell crucify when they had just hailed Jesus as King. The answer is simple. They yelled crucify because they had misplaced expectations. They expected Jesus to come like the Romans. They expected Him to deliver them from Roman rule. They sure didn’t expect their deliverer to be ridiculed; beat beyond recognition and to die on a wooden cross – the ultimate shame! In their eyes, He let them down – so KILL Him; Crucify Him! They decided to go along with the very ones who enslaved them and looked down on them – all because He did not meet their expectations.
My question is, do we do the same? Do we say we will serve the Lord with all our hearts, and then if a prayer isn’t answered the way we want; or something bad happens; or the “world” looks good, we say forget it. We say we are going to live our lives our way – doing what is right in our own eyes. Forget what God wants! The world will “parade” its ideologies; its delicacies and “easy way outs” in front of us until we go to be with the Lord. Only we can choose as to whether or not we will march in cadence to their parade drums; or whether we will follow Jesus all the way to the cross. If we follow Jesus, there will be hard times – but he will never leave or forsake us. If we march to His drum – we will definitely have to crucify the flesh. But, if we truly surrender, that is where we will find true peace; true joy; true life – abundant life now and eternal life later. No one makes a choice for us as to which parade we join, but know this… we will join one or the other. I want to be one that follows Jesus; one that encourages others to follow Him as well; one that will one day hear the Lord say, “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of the Lord.” How ’bout you?