Palm Sunday

How did Hosanna become crucify him in just 5 Days? 

People who love honor, who like being recognized for their presence or lack thereof.  People who relish in how long or how hard they have worked or how old they are, live entirely in shame, because they take their value and sense of right and wrong from their family and neighbors.  They learn to compete by keeping a keen eye on how they are perceived by others.  They live by the politics of reputation and they live out their sad lives subject to strong social control by virtue of other people’s opinion of them.

Love of honor produces envy.  Distress at another’s success. In Mark 15:10 Pilate said envy was the cause of Jesus arrest.  The chief priests are distressed at Jesus’ success and they seek to destroy his prestige.  Remember Jesus goes to the temple and criticized the way they ran the place.  This Jesus was increasing at their expense.  The priests envied Jesus receiving Hosannas from the crowd.  The priests recognized Jesus as their superior by envying him.  Mark’s goal is to present Jesus as the most honorable person in all creation.

Envy was rampant among the disciples.  James and John asked Jesus to honor them more than the other 10 disciples.  Mark tells us the 10 were indignant at it.

Jesus would never play the envy game.  Jesus presented himself to the disciples as a rejected servant.  Taking up your cross is a remedy to envy.  8:38.  Whoever is ashamed of me and my words is not worthy.  While the disciples continued to argue over who was the greatest, Jesus taught in 9:35, “If anyone would be first he must be last and servant of all.”  Jesus took a lowly child in his arms and declared the child to have the same status as he did.  9:37

You will all recall Jesus sought to reduce envy by asking people he taught and healed to keep it to themselves.  Not to boast about it.

Jesus also consistently refused compliments.  Remember the rich man who came up to Jesus in 10:18 and asked, “Good teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus rejects this saying: “Why do you call me good, only God is good.”  A small point, but Jesus here avoids envy by refusing the compliment.

Jesus was envied to death.  In the trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus innocence is revealed.  Their envy is exposed.  The verdict has been decided before hand.  The judges collude and no evidence is presented.  The witnesses contradict each other.

Then before Pilate the mob comes together.  Pilate, the priests, the people become indistinguishable from each other.  This is underlined by the release of Barabbas, a real bandit.  He is a murder an insurrectionist, a leader of the mob.  We also hear that Herod and Pilate became friends that day. Before that day they were enemies but they were united in their fear and envy of Jesus.  The priests incited the crowd to choose Barabbas.  Pilate tries to resist be he knows that ultimately his power depends on the mob.  So he agrees to sacrifice Jesus to the mob.

All of us are involved with this mechanism, and we all stand in need of the forgiveness of the cross.  It took Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world to give himself up to us to uncover the world’s faulty way of living together.  Jesus death unmasked the way we seek honor and unity and he replaced it with his Holy Communion:  the way of living with God without worrying what we look like to our neighbors, but instead hearing and following the way of Jesus Christ, the true lamb of God.  He leads us to be ourselves and to the peace that comes from following God instead of each other.