"So the Pharisees said to one another, 'See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the world has gone after Him!'" - John 12:19
Palm Sunday begins what we often call Holy Week. For Jesus' sake, I've sometimes wondered why it isn't called "Hell Week."
It was Passover, the most exciting time of the year for the Jews. And this Passover was more exciting, more "electric" than any other Passover because Jesus was coming to town! He had just raised Lazarus from the dead. He had restored Bartimaeus' eyesight shortly before that. He brought a crowd with Him who had seen these miracles. Still another throng went out to join this entourage. Both groups came together at fever pitch and led the thrilling parade into the city, shouting hosannas, adoring their Miracle Worker, and waving palm branches which had been the patriotic symbol of victory for over 150 years, ever since Simon the Maccabee drove the Syrian forces out of Jerusalem. We shoot fireworks to celebrate our patriotism; they waved palm branches.
But not everyone waved or cheered. The Pharisees burned with jealous anger: "Look how the whole world has gone after Him." And Jesus Himself, the focal point of the parade, wept! He couldn't even enjoy His own parade!
Martin Luther once said, "No man ever feared death as much as this man." And no wonder: no death ever bore the wrath of God and the sins of His people. Remember what Aslan said to the children when they asked if anything could be done to save Edmund, the traitor. The great lion said, "All shall be done. But it may be harder than you think."
Perhaps we have overlooked the difficulty of "Hell Week." Perhaps we have minimized Jesus' difficulty because of His deity. But He was also humanity. This week I encourage you to watch Him weep over Jerusalem, sweat blood in Gethsemane, pray for the cup to pass from Him, and eventually die on the old rugged cross. The closer we look and the more we listen, I'm sure we will agree that it was indeed harder than we thought.