The coronation of a queen or king always draws a crowd. The fascination though, starts way before the actual coronation. It begins with the procession. As soon as the queen or king ‘to be’ makes their long and slow journey to the cathedral to be crowned, commentary is often made on the grandeur of the whole situation including the outfits, the crown, the attendants, the throne, the mode of transport and the well wishes of those who line the streets.
This Sunday (Palm Sunday) we celebrate the occasion when Jesus proceeded into Jerusalem for his coronation to be crowned as the king of kings. His procession though, was very different. Yes, there were people lining the streets shouting his praises and laying palm branches and clothing along his path, but so many other things were so different.
His mode of transport wasn’t a fine stallion (the usual choice of a triumphant king), but a humble young colt of a donkey (which, by the way, had never been ridden, so just imagine what that would have looked like). The crown he was to receive was a crown of thorns. His throne was a cross. The chants of the crowd at the coronation were ‘Crucify him’.
So many things about Jesus’ procession and coronation were not about grandeur but humility. St Paul picked up on this when he wrote,
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (Phil. 2:5-8 MSG)
Jesus is a great model of humility, but he is so much more than that. It is through his humility that he has given us a status before God that we could never earn for ourselves – to be named and called a deeply loved and treasured child of God. This means we are free from having to earn our ‘status’ before God. And yet, at the same time, it is within this freedom that we are encouraged by the life of Jesus to ask ourselves:
- How ‘human’ am I willing to be in my interactions with others?
- How much am I willing to let go of my privileges for the sake of others?
- How humble am I willing to be and with whom?
Challenging questions. But in the freedom we have been gifted as a truly loved and treasured child of the king of kings, hopefully this makes it a little easier.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader