As Christians in Nigeria join their counterpart across the globe to celebrate Palm Sunday, they have also been reminded of the need to embrace their cross as Jesus Christ did which was transformed into an instrument of Victory.
The call was made by HRM Oba Dr. Akeem Olusayo Ogungbangbe, Owaloko of Iloko-Ijesa at Methodist Church Nigeria Diocese Of Imesi-Ile Otapete Methodist Cathedral Imesi-Ile.
It is also the final Sunday of Lent, days before he was crucified on Good Friday.
The Monarch called on Christians to bear their crosses as Jesus Christ their Leader did.
“The Cross is seen in different areas of people’s lives such as marriage sickness, in schools, business areas amongst others. Jesus embraced his cross and transformed it into an instrument of victory. The Cross is more than a symbol but an invitation to live our lives in a sacrificial manner”
Owaloko described the day as “a special day for Christians because it is the beginning of the day Jesus entered Jerusalem to bring about the salvation of humanity. So today actually begins that process”.
Oba AdbulAkeem Ogungbangbe further urged Christians not to be distracted by whatever situations they are faced with in the country as the season of Lent culminates into Holy Week. ‘The Cross is not Jewellery but a statement of how God loved the world. Love is measured by sacrifice and people who love more sacrifice more. Ponder and ask yourselves what is to be taken up and what is to be refused. As followers of Jesus Christ, the Cross is a constant feature in the lives of Christians’.
Speaking on the significance of Easter which will be celebrated in one week time, he said it is essentially the celebration of the victory of good over evil. Jesus accepted to die on the Cross but He did not remain in the grave, He rose again, and in rising again, he conquered death and evil and rose in glory. So because of Easter, Jesus is Alive, Jesus is with us till the end of time.
He stated that those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9–10
“As Jesus entered Jerusalem at the beginning of the first Holy Week, He was welcomed with much enthusiasm, and He accepted the love and devotion of those who welcomed Him. He was their King. He was the Messiah, and the welcome they gave to Him was but a pale gift of the true adoration He deserved. And though Jesus entered Jerusalem with this glorious welcome, less than a week later He would leave Jerusalem with a heavy cross on His shoulders, carrying it outside the city walls to die.
“When we contrast the entry of Jesus on Palm Sunday with His arrest, abuse, mock trial, carrying of the cross, and death, these two extremes do appear to be at the opposite ends of the spectrum. There is rejoicing and praise as He enters, and sorrow and shock as He leaves. But are these two events all that different from a divine perspective? From the perspective of the Father in Heaven, the end of the week is nothing other than the ultimate culmination of the full glory of His Son.
“Today we read the long and beautiful account of the Passion of Jesus as told in Mark’s Gospel. But on Friday we will read the account of John’s Gospel. Mark’s Gospel tells the story in clear detail, but John’s Gospel will most notably add the spiritual insight that Jesus’ crucifixion and death is nothing other than His hour of glory. We will see His Cross as His new throne of grace, and the earthly glory Jesus receives today as He enters Jerusalem will be fully realized from a divine perspective as He mounts His Throne of the Cross to take up His eternal Kingship”.