From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

What does Palm Sunday mean?

— P.E.

Dear P.E.: A great crowd of people gathered in the city of Jerusalem and welcomed Jesus, proclaiming, “Hosanna!” They spread palm branches before Him and praised His name, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:37-38). In less than a week’s time, many of these same people were shouting, “Crucify Him!”

They were disappointed that Jesus had not done what they thought He would do — establish His kingdom on earth, overthrowing Rome and its power over the people.

When Rome was at the height of her glory and power, there appeared a disturbing sect called Christians. After Jesus had been crucified and resurrected, He commanded His disciples to go into the world and proclaim the Good News of the kingdom to come. Until that time, Christians would be persecuted. The Roman high tribunal initiated a drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of pagan unity.

The Romans had a false notion that a person’s conscience could be controlled by law, so they made it illegal to be different. All must bow to Caesar. All must conform to pagan custom. All must behave like true Romans.

Times have changed, but human nature hasn’t. The world is still trying to put its stamp of conformity on every follower of Jesus Christ. Every possible pressure is being brought to bear upon Christians to make them conform to the standards of the present world.

In spite of pressures to conform to the world, may we be people who will hold God’s standard high. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Let us conform to His standard and reflect His image without compromise.