“Blessed Is He Who Comes In The Name Of The Lord!”
The dust is yet to settle on the death of President John Magufuli of Tanzania. What caught my attention as the funral convoy cruised the city was the women spreading their loins for the car carrying the corpse to pass on.
It was Magufuli’s Triumphal Exit” which could be compared only to Jesus’ Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem and which we are commemorating today. We may say one is a triumphal exit and the other is a triumphal entry. But come to think of it, both are triumphal exits. The only difference is that Magufuli was a corpse while Jesus was entering Jerusalem to intentionally become a corpse.
How is this so? The Triumphal Entry into the Holy City which marks the beginning of Passion Week “is a deliberate messianic action” as mentioned by prophet Zechariah. Zechariah asked the daughters of Zion, “Rejoice greatly…For your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”(9:9). This is exactly how Jesus entered Jerusalem. And like one commentator has rightly put it, “Jesus purposefully offers himself as the Messiah, knowing that this will provoke Jewish leaders to take action against him.” And that is what happened”
He entered Jerusalem knowing that he will be led like a lamb to the slaughter and he will not open his mouth (Is.53:1ff). He chose the path of humble submission to his Father’s will; just like Isaac submitted himself to Avraham for sacrifice (Gen, 22:1-14).
So while we wave our fronds celebrating the Triumphal Entry, let us keep it in mind that for Jesus it was a Triumphal Exit. According to the gospel of Mark Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem was the last lap of his ministry. From here on the rest of his ministry takes place within the Holy City.
As we celebrate this day, Hebrews exhorts us, “Your atttitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God…but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…he humbled himself and became obedient to death…Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father “(2:5-11).
Humble submission to the will of God is the path of exaltation; all to the glory of God.
Palm Sunday prayer: Holy Spirit help me to be humble, submissive and obedient to the Father’s will. Amen!
Have a blessed Palm Sunday! Peace be with you!