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The Palm Sunday that Wasn't

For days, Jesus and his disciples meet secretly outside Jerusalem. They plan where their weapons will be stored, where horses will be waiting, where various militia will assemble and wait until they receive the word to strike. They also organize crowds to hit the streets at just the right moment to create intimidation, distraction, and fear in the Romans and all those in Jerusalem who collaborate with them. "Operation Sacred Vengeance" is about to begin.

Then on Palm Sunday, Jesus mounts a white horse. He is carrying a huge sword, but has it hidden in a palm branch. His disciples are similarly well-armed with swords, daggers, and shields, all camouflaged behind palm branches....

As they cross the brow of the hill near Bethany and the city comes into view, Jesus gives a rousing speech. "It is wrong for the heathen idolators to have power over the faithful people of God!" he shouts. "That wrong must end today! We have suffered enough. Now we will make our persecutors suffer!" The people cheer and chant, "Victory! Victory! Crush the Romans! Kill the collaborators!"...

And so the battle for Jerusalem begins.

No. That is not what happened. And the differences are at the heart of the story of Holy Week.

- Brian McLaren
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