A church in Gardiner, New York, made headlines recently due to their Palm Sunday sermon sign. It read, “President Obama or King Jesus,” and out of everyone who likely drove or walked past it, only one family was offended enough to call the press and complain. But, one’s always enough for a story like this.
Bobbi Jo Gladitsch and her mother were “unnerved” when they saw the sign.
“It’s like he wants us to choose between the president and Jesus — which one should you believe in?” Gladitsch said.
But the Rev. Gary Sissel, church pastor, said he did not intend to offend anyone. He said the sermon was to compare the power exercised by the president of the United States — with his command of the armed forces — to the “humble” show of power by Jesus Christ, who on Palm Sunday made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey as the crowds waved palm branches.
It may come as a surprise to readers, but Jesus didn’t enter Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The occasion wasn’t called “Palm Sunday” until the fourth century or later and celebrations honouring the event have varied ever since.
Back to the article and the pastor who said that
his sermon had nothing to do with supporting or not supporting Barack Obama as a person or politician. He said it is the office of the presidency we was using in his comparison and would have put “President Bush” on the sign if George W. Bush was still president.
“It was just using it as a symbol of power because as president of the United States he is the most powerful person in the world,” Sissel said. “And here is the king of the universe and he’s riding in on a humble donkey.”
It’s also worth noting that the whole donkey and colt thing was apparently planned (by the writers?) to manipulate the Jews who believed in prophecies, because it makes Jesus seem like their predicted Messiah.
the Jews understood the symbolic nature of this act. They saw this donkey as a lowly but noble beast, knowing that if a king wanted to approach a city in peace he would ride up to the gates on a young donkey instead of on a war horse. At this time,Jesus Christ was preparing for the first time during his ministry to be declared the King of Israel, the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of David, and he was going to enter Jerusalem, the city of peace, not as a warrior messiah who would physically conquer the Roman army, but as the prophetic Prince of Peace who would seek to conquer the spiritual hearts of the people.
Evidence of the first PR campaign and spin doctors? Perhaps perhaps…