Palm Sunday perfectly captures the paradoxes of the gospel. It juxtaposes glory and humility.
In the eyes of the world, if you are glorious you are not humble and if you are humble you are not glorious. But the gospel brings together glory and humility, and on Palm Sunday, glorious humility and humble glory were perfectly displayed.
On Palm Sunday, there was most certainly glory as Jesus rode into town. This is a king entering a city to conquer it. There was pomp and circumstance, as people lined the road with their garments, a sign of submission, and waved palm branches, a sign of royalty. Songs celebrating his certain victory were sung loudly. He was acclaimed to be the promised son of David. It was truly a triumphal entry.
But there was also humility. He came on a colt, the foal of a donkey, a lowly animal. There was a royal choir, but it was largely composed of infants and children. Most significantly, Jesus was entering the city not to rule it with an iron fist as a Caesar-like tyrant, but to lay down his life for the salvation of the city in self-giving love.
That same combination of glory of humility now characterize the Christian life. We are royalty, sons and daughters of the King. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places, sharing in his rule and reign. We re promised a magnificent inheritance. But precisely because all this glory has been lavished on us, we live lives of humble service. We stoop to serve. We do not selfishly demand our preferences always be satisfied. We do not focus entirely on our own comfort. Instead, we lay our lives down for others in self-giving love. But we are also certain that as we live in humility, we not only bring glory to Christ, we enter into ever greater glory ourselves. In the gospel, we see how humility and glory truly belong together.