On Palm Sunday the crowds welcome Jesus to Jerusalem as the Messiah; and yet, they seem to be expecting him to behave differently to the way that he does. They were expecting someone who would “rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age and World to come“, and at a time that Israel was ruled by the Romans this would require their overthrow.
Every Thursday local clergy discuss the following Sunday’s Gospel, and this week one of the discussion points was whether the crowd who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem was the same one who cried out for his crucifixion a few days later. The arguments centred on whether people would have changed their minds so quickly. The choices were broadly: “no they wouldn’t” and “if they were disappointed by the failure to overthrow the Romans…”; no doubt there are others too.
It certainly looks as though they didn’t expect the kind of Messiah that Jesus was, ruling by influence rather than by power, indeed, refusing to use power when the opportunity arose, rather allowing himself to be put to death rather than invoking the power of God. Indeed,
So my question is: “What kind of Messiah do you believe in?”.
Richard Rohr writes that:
Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing)! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God
Over the years many people have had a view of God as somewhat like a medieval King; someone who it made sense to be afraid of, and to try and keep on the right side of. Jesus came to tell us that God love’s us, and that nothing that we do can stop him loving us.