The Triumph Before the Trial

By Reverend J. Loren Russell

John 13:12-13 (NKJV)
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
The King of Israel!”

Today is the day that we recount the familiar story of Jesus entering Jerusalem to a crowd of cheering people who lined the street with their clothes, laid some on the backside of a donkey’s colt, then waved palm branches and laid them on the ground as He passed by. They were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!” Hosanna is a shout of acclamation and adoration. This day is known by Christians and celebrated around the world as “Palm Sunday.”

On that great day of celebration, no one could anticipate the trial on the horizon that would overshadow this triumphal entry. The palms and the cloths that were laid on the ground, the adulation, the cheering, the praises, the amazement at seeing Lazarus in the flesh after being raised from the dead would soon be a part of a forgotten memory. Once the trial began and the sentence carried out, this triumphant entry would fade away.

There is a great irony here. The Gospel of Matthew and John tell of palms being laid under the feet of the donkey Jesus rode, and less than seven days later used the palms of their hands to strike Him. There was indeed a triumph before the trial.

There was public acclaim and a public victory, but those who gathered had private failures! They looked good on the outside and their celebration made them feel good. But their lack of integrity was exposed less than seven days later. If they weren’t the perpetrators of the trial or the executioners of the punishment, they did nothing to stop it. Their outward celebration covered up their private failures.

I wonder how many times we have participated in public activities that made us look good to our brothers and sisters, but only hid our true identity. I wonder what would happen if the truth in our hearts were revealed. Would it ruin our public reputation, our social status, our family stability, and possibly, our lives?

Are we so much like those who gathered in Jerusalem that our private failures, our secret sins, our hidden hatred of our God lead us to take Jesus to trial? Don’t get it twisted, it was us! We were in that crowd! Let us not be guilty of celebrating Jesus’ triumphant entry…, but also planning His trial.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at Goodwill Baptist Church and is the spiritual leader of both LaGree Baptist Church and the Evangelical Church of God, all in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting (718-328-8096), and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Monday nights from 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook Live. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on YouTube and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The eBook at www.smash

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