Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan would have us choose between the military procession following Pontius Pilate in triumphant might through one gate of Jerusalem, reminding the Passover crowds that it is Caesar who is really in charge around here – or the more modest procession entering another gate, the one led by a country rabbi riding a donkey proclaiming the peace of a realm that is not Caesar’s.
The other choice is whether we reflect on the event as presented by Luke’s gospel or by John’s. The former gives a blow by blow account, almost like a police report. The drama of the Passion is beginning to unfold. John’s account, however, is more reflective, even recalling that “His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.”
Alexander Shaia reminds us that the journey from Ash Wednesday to Holy Week and Good Friday is only a part of a much deeper and more impactful journey for followers of the way of Christ, beginning with the revelation in the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountaintop yet embracing the journey to Jerusalem, the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus, the Resurrection and climaxing with the Pentecost descent of the Holy Spirit and the release of God’s people into powerfully passionate service.
Palm Sunday gives us the choice of entering the experience of Easter from a perspective of conflict and defeat or the vision of a bigger picture that is already realised, yet awaiting its completion.