When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 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. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!” John 12:9-19
I am home for a brief time before I head to another meeting. I spent the weekend in Oklahoma, attending a gathering of the Oklahoma Committee on Indian work, the 30th Oakerhater honor dance and several church services where the Presiding Bishop was preaching and present with the people. I was over and over again struck by the joy and hopefulness which I encountered. There have been many setbacks in recent years to Native ministry but there was also a new joy and a new hopefulness. There was encouragement and possibility among the people gathered. Everyone wanted to be a part of the present and future, this Jesus movement. It was one of the moments when following Jesus was a great and continuing joy.
The people have heard of Jesus and his miracles and come to greet him in the streets of Jerusalem. They ache for new life and new possibilities. Their struggles and losses have overhwlemed them for too long. They want to be part of joy and possibility, not structure and rejection. The religious leaders are overwhelmed by the response Jesus receives and plot to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus. They do not understand how transforming love is, how incarnate love in Jesus turns the despair into new possibilities. We are invited today, no matter how weary and discouraged we might be, to turn to Jesus, for there is life and abundant joy on the way.
Today I ask God to help me follow on the way. May the low places reminds us that God is with us and the high ground be places of great rejoicing. May today be like the day Jesus entered Jerusalem, a time when we are overwhelmed with joy and possibility and strength for the journey ahead.