Palm Sunday 2016

Bible Text: John 12


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever


I’m sure about the beginning.

And I am even certain about forever.

But, on a day like Palm Sunday,

Despite all the festivities,

It is that word now that gives me pause, and leaves me feeling confused.


We began on such a high note, with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem;

this joyous, epic, climactic event.


It was palm branches and celebration;
Glory, and Laud, and Honor: a parade with Jesus at the front, leading the way.

It was happy people with happy shouts:

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Their Messiah has arrived! Our Messiah has arrived, and things could not be better!


But then, seemingly out of nowhere, Jesus goes negative on us.

Suddenly, there is this harsh urgency in His tone.

And all this talk about hating our own lives,

and the judgment of this world come as a bit of a downer.


As Jesus speaks, we look up and see that the clouds have begun to gather.

There was the calm. Now comes the storm.


And yet, every year on this day, I’m surprised at my surprise.

Because, in so many ways, this is precisely what Jesus has been telling us all of Lent.


In just a matter of days, the shouts change from “Bless Him” to “Crucify Him.”

Palms will be replaced with lashes,

friendship will turn to betrayal,

enemies appear where disciples used to be,

and the crowd always picks Barabbas.


And so it must be.

Because Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and Jesus’ humiliating march out of Jerusalem are so completely and utterly intertwined.


It’s difficult for us, and for the disciples, too. It’s even difficult for Jesus.

Who sighs and speaks,
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?

But for this purpose I have come to this hour.

Father, glorify your name.”


Jesus has come for this very purpose,

for everything that lies still in front of Him: trial, cross, grave, and resurrection.

With a love older than the hills, older than sin itself, Christ has come to this hour for us.


I know it is an hour that seems anything but glorious.

But this is Jesus’ hour.

And it has come.

The hour has come Son of Man to be glorified.


And so all this pomp:

Palms and bright colors, and festive songs, are here to carry us into Jesus’ hour.


An hour where we learn the awful truth about ourselves,

and the even more glorious truth about Jesus: that He loves us so.


We learn that the crowds who once shouted “Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy)”

and those who at Jesus’ trial shouted “Let His Blood be on us and on our children!”

were really asking for the same thing.

Stay close this hour to hear and see Jesus’ reply.


In the Triduum Sacrum, the great three days that approach,

(Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter)

all the world is called to attention.

Everything that is and ever was and ever will be,

the macro and the micro, the big and the small,

the planets without number,

and the people beyond notice –

everything and everyone is entangled with the days that approach.


This is the axis mundi,

This is the center upon which the cosmos turn.

The Derelict who cries from the cross is the Alpha and the Omega,

the Beginning and the End.


Who speaks this morning:

Now is the judgment of this world;”

Yet it is not be the world that is judged.

Rather, Jesus is judged by the world.

And Jesus is judged for the world, in her place. In your place.


“Now will the ruler of this world be cast out.”

Now, that tempter of old, who holds your sin before you in accusation,

He is cast out,

And stripped of his power.


Now is the hour of His coronation:

Now the time has come for Jesus to take His cross-shaped throne

And His crown of thorns

Now he will be lifted up from the earth for all to see.

Now he will draw all people to himself.

That they may look upon Him and see their salvation.


Jesus will suffer. And Jesus will die.

And Jesus will be cast into the earth,

Into a borrowed graved.


But like a seed cast into the earth,

Jesus will bear much fruit.

First Him,

Then You.


The days ahead are dark. But the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

No darkness can overcome it.

He is the Light on the far side of darkness,

He is the Life on the far side of death,

He is the Everything on the far side of nothing.

And His hour has come.


“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”


About Pastor Hopkins