By Anna Wolfe
It seems standard to understand God as Irony Incarnate, and His irony is threaded throughout the Bible. Jesus only became our everlasting source of life through His death; He only offered humanity the gifts of redemption and eternal joy through immense suffering. Jesus did not ride into the holy city as a warring king on a horse, as was expected of the Messiah. Rather, He entered on an ass to demonstrate His humility and His distance from the desires for both war and power. On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but also lament the sometimes wicked power of rhetoric. The same parade of Jews who eagerly awaited Jesus’ arrival in the Temple of Jerusalem, throwing palms at his feet and singing “Hosanna” in proclamation of the new king, persecuted the Son of God with the call “Crucify him! Crucify him!”.
And the first instance of irony occurs in Genesis, when the serpent convinces Eve that the fruit will open her eyes to the knowledge of good and evil. And therein lies the rub. From that point forward, the clear vision of humanity is blurred by temptation. It’s here, however, that we recognize that God is not ironic at all. Instead, our tainted understanding of goodness makes it difficult for us to understand the seemingly radical agenda of Jesus. And this is why those Jews turned their backs on Him: He was not the earthly conqueror which they anticipated, and so was perceived as a fraud.
Though we may suppose otherwise, we are just as prone to this distorted vision today. But so long as there is life on earth, people of each new generation will, through the grace of God, possess a divine vision, serving as trail-blazers, radically pursuing the work of Christ, even through persecution. Palm Sunday is a call to action. Shout “Hosanna” through the roar of “Crucify Him”.