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Palm Sunday: The Route of Influence and Interdependence

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week as we walk through some of the most significant events that led to the anchor of our faith, Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. But like most annual celebrations, it is easy to forget the significance of this historic date and its connection to our present reality. Palm Sunday is more than something Jesus did; it teaches us how we can posture ourselves today.

Jesus' influence was won through his impact, not forced through his authority. Jesus rides in on a donkey, but the people celebrate him as royalty. It's not the pomp and circumstance that draws the people's celebratory shouts and thankful acknowledgments. Instead, the people celebrate how Jesus impacted their lives. They are shouting "Hosanna," translated as "Please, save us," because they've witnessed God saving them through the work of Jesus. What the law and religious rites were powerless to do, Jesus did! Jesus didn't have to force the people to acknowledge who he was or what he'd done; they did that freely to respond to who he'd been to them. When we impact people's lives for the better, our authority becomes unnecessary because we've earned the trust that influences from a place of love.

Jesus' interdependence allowed for others to fulfill their purpose in the story. Independence is overrated. Jesus could've gone into Bethany and got his own colt. Untied it. And put a blanket over it. But think about it this way - a week later, the very ones who had to watch him die also had the memory of helping him be celebrated. The disciples went and got the donkey that Jesus rode on. They prepared it for his processional. They celebrated his work and had the opportunity to give him his flowers while he was with them. Palm Sunday became part of their story. Living in community is not just about what you do for others, it is also about what you allow others to do for you.

Jesus came to save us even if we misjudge the route He will take to do it. The disciples were not aware of what the next week would hold. They didn't know the allegations that would be hurled against their Rabbi. If anyone deserved to ride in on a horse, with all the majesty and authority that comes with that, it was Jesus. After all, raising dead children, healing lepers, and feeding thousands of people should come with some perks. Instead, he chose the route of great humility, a road that couldn't be used against him later. No one could accuse him of being arrogant, egotistical, or majestic- at least not justifiably. Jesus wasn't just without fault; he lived a life that made it impossible for others to fault him as well. Don't be disgruntled with the route Jesus is taking; he knows what is on the other side of this turn. The route you are on may be necessary to keep you from getting tripped up later.

Every year, Palm Sunday reminds us how quickly things can turn. This year, maybe we think about things that have to happen before we look to celebrate what might occur next week. This week, use your influence to make an impact before turning to your authority. Remember that interdependence is a blessing; let others in on your story. Lastly, trust God with your route; he knows what to help you avoid today that someone would like to use against you tomorrow.

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