Crossan and Borg talk about two processions today. In one a man with wealth and power is honored as one who can bestow or take away life. It is the imperial procession of the Roman prelate. On the other side of town a humble and good man rides on the back of a donkey while prostitutes, fisherman, common folk, and peasants wave branches and proclaim hosa na, Hebrew for “deliver us.”
Though they do not understand it yet, he will make good on his word. For these deliverance is not a vague term. On the other side of town, those in authority and the religious leaders complacent to the regime may be giving laud to a man of temporal power, but these others….they know the story of Passover. They know Passion.
In their homes they will ask the young why one night is different than all the others. They will eat quickly their simple meal and remember their deliverance out of bondage. They will recall the flood that won for them their deliverance even as it wiped away the armies of the Pharaoh. It is on this day these will cut branches from trees and spread them before him who gives deliverance to all people. They do knot know it yet, but another flood is at hand.
We know the story. In brief days his lifeless body will hang on the tree of life. A soldier will take a spear and with a single thrust , a flood will flow from his side. Out will pour blood and water. One will be sacred drink, the other the life giving tide.
Today we wave branches. Today we await that great sacrifice which gives us the life giving water that will mean deliverance from sin.
Soon thousands, no tens perhaps hundreds of thousands, will be washed in that deluge. It will mark their deliverance even as it drowns their sin. On that night, the night that is different from all other nights, we too can remember that life giving tide.