Don’t you love the antinomy of Palm Sunday
‘Antinomy’ … what?! The Oxford Dictionary defines antinomy as: “a contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions that are in themselves reasonable; a paradox.” So, two beliefs or conclusions on their own are reasonable or true, but when you put them together they seem to be contradictory.
What’s that got to do with Palm Sunday? Everything. Because in John 12 Jesus comes as “the king of Israel” (v13), but he does not come in pomp and grandeur and with a mighty army; he comes “lowly and riding on a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9, partially quoted in Jn. 12:15).
Fact: Jesus is the grand, mighty, awesome King of Israel (the Messiah) and king of the entire world. Also Fact: Jesus is the most ‘lowly’, humble, meek and serving King this world has ever seen. But when you put the two facts together you seem to arrive at an antinomy, a paradox — He is the one who brings rescue and release … yet never used a weapon, let alone had an army.
Another paradox in John 12 is that Jesus is about to be “glorified” (vv16, 23) and “lifted up” (or “exalted”) (vv32, 34) – yet he is “glorified” by dying on an instrument of cruel death! He is both lifted up literally on the cross AND AT THE SAME TIME is being “exalted”.
It seems crazy to say that Jesus’ death on the cross is his ‘exaltation’, yet it is. It is a paradox.
So … on this Palm Sunday 2018, do you acknowledge and welcome the seeming contradiction between Jesus’ kingship and his humiliation? For those who do are the only ones who truly understand and appreciate the salvation which Jesus brings. For our God seems to delight in subverting the world’s normal way of thinking, so that it is His wisdom and insight and power alone which saves us.
Friends, there is no actual contradiction between Jesus’ majesty and his “lowliness”. This is who He is. This was also the way of the cross for Him — and this is the way of the cross for you and me —
“For the message of the cross if foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”
(1 Corinthians 1:18)
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