Monday, April 02, 2007

Palm Sunday Vindication


The grand procession of our Lord into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is best seen according to the backdrop of the events in the life of David and Solomon. Remember those? King David was old and rather out of the loop, on his deathbed (I love how the KJV puts it, “he gat him no heat”). They gave him Abishag to keep him warm, although “he did not know her,” i.e., there was nothing untoward about this arrangement. During these last days of the king, the treacherous Adonijah decided it was time to usurp the throne, and he set the wheels in motion to make himself king, thinking he could get away with this because David would never know. Solomon was just a clueless boy, and his mother Bathsheba was powerless to stop it. So she spoke to Nathan, and the two of them decided to try to tell David, in last-ditch hopes of putting a stop to the travesty. David had promised the throne to Solomon, and that according to the word of God. So she went into his chamber and told him, and Nathan came in after, to back up her testimony. Was it too late? David, in his last great kingly act, mustered his waning strength to decree that Solomon must be crowned king at once, and all the customary preliminary steps (at which Adonijah was even now busily working) were, by this decree to be bypassed. Solomon was placed on David’s mule and sent into Jerusalem, amid cries of God save King Solomon! “And the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.” The Psalm appropriate to the occasion would have been the 118th, including this: Save now . . . Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord!” And this great noise of rejoicing was the sound of vindication, an occasion at which Adonijah, when he saw it, knew the jig was up.

The entry of our Lord Jesus Christ is a resounding acclamation that He is the Greater Solomon, and the vindication of His truth against the scribes and Pharisees. Indeed the Lucan account of it has these words: “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest,” not only reminiscent of the angelic announcement at His birth, but more importantly declaring Him the true Prince of Peace, Shalom, Solomon. And the Pharisees and their allies are as struck as had Adonijah had been. No wonder they would complain to Pilate about what he affixed to the cross, “The King of the Jews.” Those placards were supposed to tell the offense of the criminal, as a deterrent to others. Thus, to Christ’s enemies, the offense was that He said He was the king of the Jews. To say that He was the King of the Jews was to turn it all on its head, and make Him the Greater Solomon.

This was Pilate’s richest mockery: Ecce homo! You want your own king? Here he is, folks, a pitiful worm.

And yet in fact, this is faith’s greatest hour and vindication, for faith believes where it cannot see. The glory of Christ is His cross. His crown is of thorns. His death is His victory. And He is our King (is He not risen from the dead?). And so we cry hosanna (God save the King!) evermore.

2 comments:

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

"And yet in fact, this is faith’s greatest hour and vindication, for faith believes where it cannot see."

Well...how about, "faith believes what the eyes cannot see."

Because faith does see! That's what faith is: things hoped for made real here and now, and the and unseen things made evident. (Heb. 11:1)

Anastasia

Father Eckardt said...

Same thing. Faith trusts in the darkness.