April 13, 2014

The Palm Parade

John 12:12-19

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!”
—John 12:13


Today is one of my favorite days on the church calendar. This morning in many churches children will march up and down the aisles, singing praises and waving palm branches. There’s always some delightful mishap, such as a child who sings more exuberantly than the rest, or a youngster who tries to take someone else’s bigger branch.

I learned recently that the palm branches in Jesus’ day had patriotic meaning. Rebels rising against Rome would mint coins stamped with palm branches on them. So, as Jesus entered Jerusalem to the waving of palms, the scene spoke of Israel’s national hopes, hopes that were pinned on him.

Likewise Jesus chose to make his entry on a donkey, a humble symbol of both kingship and peace. But Jesus wasn’t the political king the people expected. His message in this was for the entire world. Jesus came not to save one nation but to offer salvation to all people. “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17).

It isn’t by way of weapons or war horses that Jesus saves. Jesus came to lay down his life so that all people might claim him as Lord and King. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are you, our Lord and King, for you came to bring peace and salvation to all people. Equip us to join you in that great calling. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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