1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
This will be one Palm Sunday that I will never forget. Because of the global pandemic, our churches will be empty today as we remember that day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem with his disciples, on a donkey. The “city was in turmoil” (21:10), because the people were tired of the brutality of the Roman government. They wanted a Jewish King, like King David, that would make everything right so that their lives would be good again. They believed that Jesus was the man! Many had been following him since that day Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount.” They watched him heal people from their illnesses, feed thousands with only a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish; cast out demons, and they were amazed at the authority that Jesus held. And so, when Jesus rode into town that day, they laid out the red carpet with palms they tore off the trees and the cloaks they had on their backs. Their King had arrived!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like our cities, communities, and our world are in turmoil. As much as I wish everything was normal and I could go into church today, waving our palms and singing, “Hosanna in the Highest,” perhaps more than ever, our hearts and minds are turned to Christ because we are in a time of desperate need of a Messiah!
As we continue down this road with Jesus, we know things go south really fast. We go from the people laying out the red carpet for their new King – to just in a few short days, to Jesus being crucified on a cross. It begs the question, “What in the world happened?” Unfortunately, the people got it all wrong. While their hope was that Jesus would make their city whole again, Jesus came to make their hearts whole.
Therefore, that is what today needs to be about as we go through this day – this Palm Sunday. We are in very trying and challenging days. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn for those who have died from this virus. We pray for the families who have lost their loved ones and for those who are at risk. We pray for our economy and those who have now lost their jobs. We have every reason to be afraid and worried. But the only real course of action we have is to pray…Submit our lives to Jesus Christ and allow His loving arms around each one of us.
Here is the thing…
Because God does love us so much – God gives us everything that we need! He gave us Jesus Christ, who is now making his way to the cross – giving us Food for the day – the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus. God gives us POWER – the Power to Forgive Sins – to forgive one another – making our hearts clean and whole! God gives us Protection – We are protected from evil and most of all – DEATH. God protects us with our SALVATION and ETERNAL LIFE!
Let us pray…Gracious God, thank you! Thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who emptied Himself of God and became human for our sake. Thank you for Your Son who obeyed you – even to the point of death – death on a cross. Without Your Son, we would not have forgiveness of sins, the Body and Blood that nourishes us with Your Amazing Grace, and the hope of our Eternal Life. We love you so much. Amen.