The palms of Palm Sunday are said to symbolize the fronds and cloaks lain on the ground before Jesus and his followers as they entered Jerusalem at the beginning of the final week before the crucifixion and resurrection. This padding of the way was by tradition done in tribute for the arrival of the king, the honored one. John chapter 12 verses 12 – 15 says that Jesus rode into townon a donkey, another sign of the perception of his honored position. Jesus was greeted with excitement. These descriptive circumstances show the perceptions of the people of Jerusalem that their king had come to rule over them and protect them. Jesus’s perceptions are quite at odds with the thoughts of the people. He knew He was facing imminent ridicule, betrayal, torture, and death. He anticipated the upcoming events with great anxiety.
My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Yet He also knew that the coming days would bring the fulfillment of scripture, including death, resurrection, and ascension, a sacrifice to the Father in atonement for our sins.
Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
And he breathed his last.
In my life, I am learning the blessing of sacrifice. I am learning that good work happens, not when all goes well, but when struggle and anguish are present in the doing of that good work. Good work, important work, essential work is not easy – it is hard, it is tough, it is painful. That which is not difficult can be done by anyone. That which is worth doing requires strength, effort, commitment, determination, concentration, devotion, sacrifice. Freely and willingly pouring these qualities into our challenges requires faith. Without faith, I would wonder, “Why bother?” I want to feel that my efforts will bear fruit. My efforts are sometimes unappreciated, or even resented. I can live through the unpleasantnesses I experience (which are insignificant compared to those faced by Jesus), because of the anticipation that someone will benefit from the devotion I have to my family, to my society, and to my God.