Our Lenten Devotion for Palm Sunday, April 10, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
8 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:28-29 NIV
“His Glorious Throne”
“It seems impossible to see joy in the tortured, naked body hanging with outstretched arms on a wooden cross. Still, the cross of Jesus is often presented as a glorious throne on which the King is seated”
(from Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 47Henri)
At first glance, the two themes for this Sunday seem incompatible. How do you correlate the joy and celebration of Jesus’ triumphal procession into Jerusalem with the harsh realities of the passion reading, where we see his tortured body hanging with outstretched arms on that cruel cross? On that joyous Palm Sunday Jesus was met with shouts of “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). But his kingly throne was not to be in Jerusalem. Five days later, inscribed on his triumphant cross were the fitting word, “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38). Ironically, that tortuous cross was Jesus’ true and glorious throne – and the source of our eternal joy. Because he willingly bore the crown of sin and shame, we who look with faith to the crucified Christ will receive the crown of life. What a glorious day it will be when we meet the King of Kings, seated on his glorious throne!
The struggle to reconcile Palm Sunday and Good Friday has been a part of the Lenten season through the ages. It provides us with the opportunity to consider Jesus’ life, ministry, sacrifice, and call on our lives. Sometimes when I take time to reflect on those contradictory circumstances of Jesus’ life, I am reminded that our lives can often be both joy-filled and horrifying. Still, God in Christ is with us, always promising gracious, loving presence for us.
Our Savior and King, we look forward to the blessed day when we will greet you with shouts of joyous praise that will continue forever and ever. Amen.