Monday, April 18, 2011

The Shouts

Picking up the girls from Sunday School, I noticed something green and familiar in Faith’s hand.

"What’s that, honey?”

That was all the prompting needed as she launched into the full, Palm Sunday, 4–6 year old Sunday School class, long version of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. She showed me the palm branch she had made and went on to tell how the girls waved their branches and shouted “Hosanna!” while the boys all pretended to be Jesus riding on the donkey.

Jelena had to point out that Cindy Jo tried to join the boys because she wanted to be Jesus, but teacher quickly reminded her that she was not a boy so she could not be Jesus.

Eventually, we were able to get back to the point of the story.

They finished telling about their exciting morning with the exciting story with all the excited people who were excited to see Jesus—so excited that they grabbed branches off of trees and waved them in the air and laid them on the ground in celebration as they offered up shouts of praise!

Quite possibly, this is the 14th Easter I have had a child come to me with some form of a palm branch in hand. I’ve listened to numerous retellings of this same beloved Bible story from 5 different perspectives and every time the story captivates them, fueling their excitement for the Sunday to follow—Easter Sunday!

Later that afternoon while I was smiling on Faith smiling so happily with the retelling of her morning, a heart wrenching reflection entered my thoughts. The imagery was so stark and powerful I am positive I will be unable to capture the intensity with which I felt it.

What a difference in shouts!

First came the cries, "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD; Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9)

Imagine the joy that accompanied. The excitement. The grabbing of palm branches and the throwing down of cloaks upon the dirt pathway for a donkey to step on. The laughter, the tears, the delight . . . the shouts of praise to Jesus as they called out, “Son of David”,  identifying Him as the Messiah!

The crowds shouted “Hosanna”!

This was Sunday. Then came Friday.

“The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. But the governor said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas." Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Crucify Him!" And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Crucify Him!" (Matthew 27:20-23)

Imagine once more the excitement, the impassioned frenzy, the air-pumping fists. Except this time, there is no joy . . . no laughter. There is anger, malice, and contempt while ugly tones spill ugly words.

The crowds are the same. The people haven’t changed. Only their shouts are different.

Sunday the crowds stir with joy. Friday those crowds stir into a riot.
Sunday they shout praise. Friday they shout condemnation.
Sunday they hail Him King—Messiah. Friday He is an outcastcriminal.
Sunday they bid Him, “come”. Friday they curse Him, “die”.

Why? What happened between Sunday and Friday? Jesus had to have done something, said something to have turned the crowd against Him so.

The “Hosannas” are lifted in the 21st chapter of Matthew. The “crucify’s” in chapter 27. What happened between chapter 21 and chapter 27? What could possibly have been said or done in that short period of time that would have brought such a drastic, fully encompassed, change?

This week I have been reflecting on those questions. I am pausing my heart to quietly ponder the difference in these shouts, the difference of 5 days.

{edited from the archives, as I spend my week quiet with Jesus}

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