Non-Religious Christian Spirituality

blinded by expectation

At the beginning of holy week, we take a look at Palm Sunday from the point of view of all the different groups of people who watched Jesus enter the city that day. Riding through Jerusalem’s gates on the foal of a donkey not only fulfilled certain prophetic scriptures, it also unmistakably signaled to the watching cultures that Jesus came in peace. To bring war or insurrection, he would’ve ridden a horse. The symbolism was unmistakable, but everyone mistook it anyway. The waving and laying of palms before a king [the symbol of triumph throughout the ancient world] and the hosanna that was being shouted by the people [literally: hoshiiah na–save us we beseach you] was enough to set both Jewish and Roman leaders’ teeth on edge. For everyone understood that this was how the common people and the Zealots were seeing Jesus–as a political and military messiah come drive out the Romans and re-establish the promised Hebrew throne. So the Romans and Jewish authorities both saw him then as a threat to their respective power bases and planned accordingly, regardless of Jesus’ teaching and the symbolism of his entry that day. And what of Jesus’ closest followers? What did they see? They were still fighting over their own positions in the coming Kingdom, and mistook the unmistakable Jesus as well. The most important question we can ask ourselves is what we expect of Jesus as he rides into our lives each day. Is he the one we expect to wipe away our obstacles and difficult circumstances in life? Is he a threat to our power base, our sense of who we are and how we survive? Are we looking to ride his coattails into some greater position for ourselves? Jesus was very clear about who he was and who he still is. We need to make sure we’re not mistaking his unmistakable signs, and blinded by our expectations, seeing only what we wish to see.

Message delivered @ theeffect, 4/1/12. Here for audio message.


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