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Palm Sunday


On Palm Sunday, the multitudes shouted “Hosanna! Save us, O Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9-10; Luke 19:38; John 12:13). They were receiving the heavenly King as though He was an earthly king. In their minds, this Passover may well be the last one under Roman occupation as the new king, the Messiah, will annihilate the Romans. To their surprise, they found themselves shouting only a few days later, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27: 22; Mark 15:13; Luke 23:21; John 19:6). Most shouters on either day would not know that both shouts would entail precisely the same thing, namely the crucifixion of the Word of God whose death brings forth salvation and life.

From the Cross, the Son of God, also shouts “Father, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). The One who was eternally motherless now experiences fatherlessness not that His Father ceased to be, God forbid! Rather, it is because the Son economically endures abandonment that He may be like us in all things. In the economy of the Incarnation, He likewise has a biological mother but no biological father. He entrusts His mother to His disciple John, whom He calls a “son” (John 19:26). What a wonder! The One who experiences abandonment by His Father communicates His Father’s fatherhood to His disciple.

In His final moments of agony, the Word of God breaks the silence He kept throughout His trial that was only interrupted by few phrases here and there. He says, “It is finished” (John 19:30). With these simple words, He recreates us anew. We were created by God through His Word on the sixth day. But on this new sixth day of His crucifixion, the Word is no longer a distant sovereign creator. Rather, He speaks while experiencing the most human of our experiences, namely death. He recreates our humanity by assuming it and saving it on the Cross. But the story does not end in the silence of the Word’s death.

Another shout comes about to break the silence of His death… The shout of stones. When asked to silence His followers on Palm Sunday, He contended that the stones would shout if He silenced His followers (Luke 19:40). Indeed, when His followers were silent, an earthquake took place. The stones shouted to declare the death of their Creator on Golgotha (Matthew 27:51) and once again to declare His resurrection (Matthew 28:2) and emergence from the tomb carved in a stone (Matthew 27:60).

And today when we shout “Hosanna,” we must know that our shout is really saying “crucify Him” but not like those of old who desired to be rid of Him. Rather, we long for His crucifixion to participate in it so that we may know the power of His resurrection. Today, we shout “Hosanna” in anticipation of shouting with the rest of creation, “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”    

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