Sunday, April 13, 2014

Passion Week Palm Sunday


Matthew 21:1-11
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

I remember walking into church as a little girl, waving my palm branch and singing “Praise Him, Praise Him all ye little children.  God is love, God is love.”   Just as my little legs carried me down the aisle, overflowing with happiness and caught up in the moment of celebration, little legs carried children on that day long ago, full of joy, dancing with their parents.  They joined in the excitement of cutting down palm branches and laying them on the cobble stone street because that is what you do when a king rides into town.  Then they saw it, a young donkey prancing on coats that had been thrown down to cushion his steps.  There was so much going on, people cheering and shouting “Hosanna” - Save Us.  They pressed around but a little child squeezed through and looked up with big, innocent eyes at the man sitting on the colt.  This was no ordinary king, He was coming humbly on a donkey instead of as a warrior on a stallion.  He was their king, their Messiah!  He was the promised one Israel had waited for, the one they had longed for to save them from oppression and to give them victory over Rome.  The king, Jesus, looked at the little child and in His eyes deep pools of emotion opened up.  Love - for all the people who were there cheering for Him.  Sadness - for their misunderstanding his purpose not as a warrior but as the Messiah come to save their sins.  Compassion - for their brokenheartedness.  Purpose - in the only destination possible to forgive each person his sin.  Completion - of the work He had been doing for three years, to teach his disciples and share the Kingdom of God with the people.  He smiled at the child.  The crowd squeezed in as she looked up at her mother and the humble king continued on the back of a donkey’s foal.

Zecheriah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

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