We all want to be accepted for who we are and for what we have to offer. What a blow it is, then, to be dismissed, ostracized, and rejected.

No one knew this experience more deeply than Jesus. Offering acceptance for so many, he was still misunderstood, feared, and ultimately put to death.

God offers this acceptance now to you. Open your heart to receive that love, as well as the one who came to show it to us.

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When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Matthew 21:1–9

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Palm Sunday begins Holy Week of the Christian year. This week is the time between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion and death. Holy Week invites us to hold in tension our embrace of Jesus’ life and offer of salvation for us with humanity’s rejection of Jesus and his message. Palm Sunday is a glimpse into the rest of the week. People placed branches and coats on the road to welcome Jesus as a hero from God.

But the “whole city was in turmoil,” signaling there would be violence ahead for Jesus. The crowd that cheers “Hosanna” today is replaced by the crowd that jeers “Crucify!” on Friday.

Palm Sunday invites us to consider how we both accept and reject Jesus. Do we celebrate and sing of his forgiveness for us, yet refuse to forgive others? Have we received from Jesus love and life but struggled to love ourselves and others?

Jay Kieve

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Jesus, I accept you into my life and thank you for your love and forgiveness. I confess that accepting you and following you may not always be the same. Amen.

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Jesus is coming. Will you accept him?
You have a gift. Will you offer it?
There will be sacrifice. Can you make it?

The Gospel of Christ is scandalous,
Yet it contains the very bread of life.

The choice is yours to make.

Jay Kieve

Jay Kieve is coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina. His wife, Melanie, works for Clemson University. His son, Jesse (17), is a junior at Indian Springs School in Alabama, and his daughter, Emma (13), is a 7th grader at McCants Middle School in South Carolina.

Reflections on the Way: Son of My Soul

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