Good Word for the Day: March 31, 2012

“Palms”

If you want to show your support for your favorite team, what would you do? Here in Gainesville, home of the Gators, it is not uncommon to observe a T-shirt sea of orange and blue in the stadium. It lets you know you’re playing in “The Swamp.” The color theme is carried through with cheerleaders waving orange and blue pom-poms, while shouting familiar Gator chants. In ancient middle East times, prior to T-shirts and pom-poms people still expressed their passionate support in pom-pom like fashion – only by waving readily available palm branches. As crowds would wave them, a moving sea of green leaves greeted conquering heroes. Their extended length served to exaggerate their enthusiasm. This is the nature of celebrating Palm Sunday as the first day of Holy Week. Instead of a crowded stadium, Jesus entered a crowded Jerusalem with a sea of enthusiastic fans waving palm branches and shouting out their support of Jesus. Why then in five days would Jesus discover jeering instead of cheering? First consider what you say after your team loses. It’s probably unkind. Superficial fans can be fickle. Secondly, consider that instead of the loyal fan base, the Good Friday crowd was of interest to religious leaders Jesus displaced by bringing his new commandment of loving each other as he had loved them. (John 13.34) Yes, although Palm Sunday gave way to Good Friday; cheering gave way to jeering, the last book of the Bible, Revelations provides this anticipated final celebration.

It says,  “I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…” (Revelation 7.9)

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