Read Matthew 21:1-11
In our reading today we see that Jesus is entering one of the most troubled places in the world. It is a place of struggle, hardship and turmoil. It has a history of killing prophets, wars, and violence. It is a place of chaos. The most troubled place in the world is not, however, a physical location. The human heart is the most troubled place in our world. It has been throughout history.
Jesus is going to Jerusalem, the heart of a people group, the identity of a nation, the birthplace of religions. We are that city and we are shaken, agitated, and confronted every time Jesus comes to us (if we don’t feel this maybe we should). He turns our world upside down. That’s what Jesus does. It might not be comfortable to us, but it is what we need.
If given a choice I think the vast majority of us would prefer the fairytale Jesus; one who brings peace and security, one who makes life easy and happy. But that is not what Jesus is about. Jesus is the savior not a superhero. He has been bringing chaos from the day he was born.
His life, His teaching, His behavior all caused chaos Palm Sunday is no exception (v.1-11). Today all of Jerusalem is in turmoil. Waving palms and yelling “Hosanna” even come close to capturing the true upheaval happening in the city. Instead, they become the symbols that shake and agitate Jerusalem disclosing its turmoil.
That turmoil is a revelation. It tells us that something about our life, our faith, our means of existence is not in alignment with God’s plan or will. So much so that immediately after Jesus enters Jerusalem he goes to the temple bringing more chaos. He drives out those who thought they could buy and sell their way to God. He turns the tables and chairs of those who thought they acted as gatekeepers to God.
The chaos of Palm Sunday points to the deeper mystery of Jesus’ identity and leaves us asking, “Who is this?”
He is not the sweet baby Jesus of Christmas card fame. He is the man of chaos. His chaos is life-giving and God-revealing. The chaos He brings calls our life into alignment with God’s will and plan. His entry into Jerusalem commences a Holy Week of chaos; realigning our relationships and teaching us the intimacy of foot washing, calling us to be reborn, and breaking open our lives in ways we never expected to point our hearts to servitude and love. The chaos Jesus brings is the turmoil out of which new life will be born on Easter Sunday. Jesus’s chaos is beautiful.