Everything changes this week. You can almost hear the bewildered lady from the Geico commercial saying, "That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works." Were there one theme on Palm (Passion) Sunday, it would have to be "Bewilderment." Everyone knows it is Palm Sunday, but a testament to the church's questionable marksmanship is the way we put "Passion" in parenthesis.
We want the highs of Easter success without the weightiness of Good Friday. Our liturgy leaves nothing to chance when it comes to folks experiencing the full gambit of emotions during Holy Week, so Palm (Passion) Sunday tries to do it all. We'll begin on a high note, singing our hosannas to a Jesus whom we expect to overthrow Caesar. If Judas Maccabeus could overthrow the evil of the Seleucid tyrant, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, why not Jesus the Romans? After all the time they spent with Jesus, the disciples would not finally begin understanding Jesus until the hour was at hand. And that awakening was too much to swallow.
So we leave off shouting hosannas. Everything changes. With the disciples, we abandon Jesus. We fear what may happen to us, now that we finally understand that the scriptures of the prophets must be fulfilled. Isaiah 53 is a hard scripture of the prophets, especially understanding now that Jesus merely walks the way laid out for all Israel. So we run, leaving Jesus to suffer alone.
That's the thing about Palm Passion Sunday: "Passion" was never parenthetical. And Jesus proved that. Suffering alone, however, was never in the cards. Jesus walked the way laid out for all who dare walk the way. Yet, because he walked in perfect faithfulness, we can walk our lonesome, suffering way in faith. Let us walk this way together as we embark on Holy Week.