Palm Branches

Prayer: Dear Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You have ordained praise from the lips of all creation. I want to join in that praise and lift up Your name with my whole heart. I worship You and honor You today and every day as my Lord and my King. Please let my expressions as praise ring in Your ears and bring You glory. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Read: John 12:12-36

Think about It: One of America’s truly unique expressions of celebration is the ticker-tape parade. The first such event to take place was in 1886    during the dedication of the Statue of Liberty and apparently happened spontaneously. Today, as ticker tape is a thing of the past, confetti is used for these parades instead of the long strips of paper that came from the  brokerage firms in days gone by. But we still like to celebrate a great event together and the parade is a perfect outlet for those joyful emotions. The same was true during the days Jesus walked the earth.

By the time Jesus heads into Jerusalem for the last time, His fame has spread far and wide. Thousands have been fed when there was no food. Hundreds have been healed by a mere word from His mouth. Storms have been squashed and demons have been dispatched. He’s famous. And news of His arrival in the city has covered the countryside. Jerusalem was teeming with people, as it was the time of the annual Feast of the Passover and His name was probably on everyone’s lips. News that He would be arriving in town caused a group to gather and a spontaneous parade breaks out! Branches are pulled from palm trees and strewn before the King. Those who didn’t have a palm branch used their coats. These were both expressions of honor during this time, and these people knew Jesus was someone to be honored. But why? Was it simply because He was able to provide a meal and heal their sicknesses? Perhaps that was their motivation, but it was not the sole reason He deserved the honor accorded to Him that day.

As always, we too need to examine our motivations. Do you love Jesus because He’s powerful and can take care of your need for bread? Or do you honor Him because He is God, Lord and Master of the universe? Your answer to that question will color your entire relationship with Him. Is He your bread King or your God? While the people of Jerusalem were looking for provision and rescue from the Roman government, He came to bring what they needed even more – forgiveness of sins. The same is true for us. While He can, and does provide all that we need, of even greater importance is our need for a Savior. Recognition of this will change your entire outlook on the faith and your experience of a relationship with Him.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, please help me to see You as You are – the Lord and lords and King of kings. Help me to go beyond the “please give me” prayers and enter into a genuine loving relationship with You. Instead of waving palms before You, please help me to lay down my broken and contrite heart instead, allowing You full access to my entire life. In Your name I pray. Amen.