I wonder who were in that crowd of joyful praise that first Palm Sunday?The woman healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’cloak must have been there. So too the centurion whose servant had been restored and Jairus the synagogue ruler whose daughter Jesus brought to life. The adulterous woman spared from the zealous legalists who would have stoned her to death could now look her accusers in the eye. Many that Palm Sunday had seen their lives wonderfully changed by God’s power and now was the time to give Him praise!
How was it then that by the end of the week cries of ‘Hosanna’had changed to ‘Crucify Him’? The religious hierarchy’s response was typical of all who even today breed hate and division and who indoctrinate the young with their zealous and deadly teachings. Within days Pontius Pilate had washed his hands, the disciples of Jesus were scattered and the likes of Caiaphas, the chief Priest and others of the religious elite smugly content that they had succeeded in turning praise to hatred and mob rule.
This Easter against the backdrop of a world where there is so much conflict and despair the cry goes out for freedom from tyranny and oppression. Lastweekend thousands marchedin the USA and all over the world for changes to gun laws whilethose in authoritychose to look the other way. Russia’s President continue to deny all knowledge of the attempted assassination on British soil while most experts agree that this horrendous attack was grounded in an evil intent to avenge and get even. The continuing conflict in Syria continues to bring untold suffering to millions, while in this and many similar situations those who could be instruments of change and justice choose rather like Pontius Pilate to wash their hands, implicating themselves by their inaction and indifference to human need and suffering.
The Easter message resounds with the truth that through every manifestation of cruelty, torture and even death there comes the victory of resurrection. God raised his Son from the grave – suffering and death will not have the final word. This Sunday, as on every Sunday we celebrate that Jesus is alive – Death could not hold him the grave has no victory. Mercy, justice and truth are at the heart of this universe because God is love. Good Friday tells suffering and death, Sunday resounds with Victory and celebration. That’s whyEaster has little to do with chocolate eggs and cute bunnies and everything to do with God’s final judgement on evil and the victory of love – He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!