Palm Sunday’s a Comin’


In preparing for a sermon on the Triumphal Entry, I found these profound comments by Klaas Schilder. This is from Christ in His Suffering, volume 1 of “The Schilder Trilogy.”

Jesus, the Logos, defined the theo-logical first principle of faith. Now He is almost at the close of that career. Meanwhile the number of the disciples has grown apace. Look at the countless numbers. But the quality of this multitude is not equal to its quantity; its faith does not keep pace with its fervor; its spirituality falls short of its enthusiasm. For the multitude speaks only of Jesus’ might and of its own, and not at all of His and its own privilege. The dynamic, not the juridical, appeals to it. While Jesus is performing miracles, raising Lazarus, distributing food to the thousands, suppressing demons, this people honors Him. But a few days later, when He will bring the perfect sacrifice of fulfillment, will supply what God’s justice demands, it will be ashamed of its meek and lowly king. And that is the best, although it is the most horrible, proof of the fact that its hosanna comes from admiration of the miraculous and not from a saving faith.

Essentially, therefore, the cynical chief priests and this elated crowd, exuberantly swinging the palm branches in the air, are allies. Both do injustice to the essence of Christ’s official calling. Superficially there seems to be a considerable difference between them: the chief priests, nonchalantly counting the traitor’s fee into Judas’ hand, on the one side, and this honest, ardent, spontaneous crowd, in their ecstacy casting their finest garments into the road, on the other side. Quite a difference, superficially considered, yes. But essentially they agree. The shape and features of the sin of each group are not the same. But sin is sin, and unbelief is always unbelief.

Christ in His Suffering, pg. 125 (emphasis mine)

Because the crowd, like many in our own day, wants Christ without a cross, they show themselves to be allies not of Jesus, but of the high-priests and ultimately Satan himself.

Many in our day do much the same thing as they want the man Jesus, the moral teacher, but want nothing to do with the eternal Christ who comes speaking of things like sheep and goats, crosses, blood, and propitiation of wrath. Even though he ultimately will speak of resurrection, ascension, and parousia, he only ever does this as part of his entire messianic ministry which involves Christ as both Lord and servant. These are not new-agey, self-help types of terms; they are eschatological realities which only make sense against the backdrop of redemptive history, a history that makes us own our unworthiness in order to confess Christ and his eternal worthiness!