Perfect Liberty in Jesus - 15 April 2020
By Louise Gevers
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches in the fields and spread them on the road. The people who were in front and those who followed behind began to shout, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the coming kingdom of King David, our father! Praise God!”
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches … Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!’ Mark 11:8-10
Celebrating Palm Sunday indoors would’ve been a very different experience for the many Christians around the world affected by the current lockdown, and the complete opposite of what happened that day in Jerusalem two thousand years ago. In some ways the lockdown may reveal more accurately the true state of peoples’ spirits, than when movement is unrestricted, because having no restrictions can dull the inclination to self-awareness.
Was this perhaps the case for many of those making up the happy crowd on that first Palm Sunday? They were keenly aware that they wanted to be liberated from Rome and saw in Jesus their long awaited Messiah. Were they aware that they carried an even greater bondage which was a far heavier burden? Were they aware that they shared this need of liberation with the Romans, and indeed all mankind, to know true freedom?
There were those in this crowd, though, who had already had a personal encounter with Jesus. Their joy emanated from who He was and what He had already taught and done amongst them, never turning any of them away. These had already experienced some degree of healing of body or mind – or glimpses of spiritual freedom through Jesus – and joyfully joined the throng: the seeing blind, the walking lame; men and women in their right minds and even a dead man recently brought back to life – all with their grateful families and friends.
The exuberant scene in Jerusalem on that momentous day embraces all of time and all of humanity, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy about the expected Messiah come to free us all from our bondage, of people joyfully shouting ‘Hosanna’ because the long anticipated freedom for all had come.
Jesus’ mission of redemption to save and set people free from sin, and its devastating effects, was in motion but so many people in that triumphant crowd, anticipating imminent physical liberation, didn’t see it. Likewise, we, in lockdown, are eagerly awaiting our physical liberation but are we as keenly aware of our need for liberation of the spirit which Jesus brings?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You entered Jerusalem triumphantly, knowing where it would lead, knowing that You alone would endure the cross to bring perfect liberty to us sinful, captive human beings. Open our eyes to your love and our hearts to your grace that we may be set free. Amen