‘Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”’ Mark 11.8-9
One of the most noticeable aspects of the Palm Sunday story is the changing nature of the faith of the people. One day they are rejoicing at the wonder of Jesus, but only a few days later the shouting is for Jesus to be crucified - and this probably came from many of the same people.
In some ways we can be just as fickle! There will be times when we are really engaging with God; perhaps enjoying a fresh awareness of his presence and making promises that we will change. Yet there will also be times when we are unaware of his presence, and find ourselves doing things that on reflection we wish we had not done. Despite this, the truth is that no matter how we are with Jesus, he is always there for us.
Peter is a good example: it’s likely he was present and cheering for Jesus on Palm Sunday and we know that he declared his utter commitment to Jesus at the Last Supper. Yet within a few hours he had denied Jesus three times, and felt wretched at what he had done. How amazing that when Jesus was raised from the dead, Peter was lovingly restored rather than scolded.
Whatever happens over these next few days as the events of Holy Week unfold, and however close or distant you feel to Jesus, remember that he is full of love and present with you at every moment. Turn to him in whatever way you can, whenever you can, and find him with you.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission