Palm Sunday is such a meaningful day it almost feels like a collision of all we believe.
Here we have Christ entering Jerusalem for the last time, people are welcoming Him into the holy city but will demand His death in only five short days. The long-awaited King of the great city of Jerusalem, yet He enters on a donkey. We hail Christ as our King today too, yet we know He is about to die for us on Good Friday. What do our praises mean to Him who must suffer the pains of sin and be like a lamb led to the slaughter, who will turn His back to the smiters?
How can so many powerful contradictions exist at once?
Palm Sunday is a collision of the paradoxes of our faith. We are an Easter people who must embrace the cross. We know Christ is our King just as we know He must suffer for us. We cannot explain away this important contradiction because it is in the contradiction, the paradox, the mystery, that the beauty and truth of our faith is found. The embrace of suffering with the knowledge of our redemption begins with Palm Sunday. We sacrifice during Lent to prepare ourselves to experience again the most important truths of our faith, that Christ's death and Resurrection merits our salvation. But our Lent ends at Palm Sunday, which brings the paradox of our faith into bold technicolor, showing us graphically how contrary we are to the world and even to ourselves. We welcome suffering even though we know it to be painful, difficult, and tragic. We praise our King even though He will be treated as a common criminal, even though He will be humiliated because His death is our salvation.
These are the paradoxes of Palm Sunday, the paradoxes of Holy Week, the paradoxes of our faith. Paradox are like a window into mystery, and it is into the mystery that faith leads us.
Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.