Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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 Sunday is Palm Sunday. Lent is almost over – the time in which, we reflected and turned ourselves and our ways towards God. And, now we are almost to Jerusalem. Imagine with me as we put ourselves into the story of Christ. What if we were one of the disciples? What might would we be thinking? How would we be feeling? Would we be filled with joy? Or, would we be afraid?
Just prior to Jesus and the disciples arriving into Jerusalem, Jesus foretold his death to the disciples – not just once, not twice, but for a third time! (Matthew 20:17-19). He tells them everything that is about to go down in Jerusalem. They had to be expecting the worst that could possibly happen! However, it’s not that way at all when they arrive into Jerusalem. Instead, Jesus tells two of his disciples to go and untie a colt so that He can ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, (which is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Zech 9:9).
A donkey? Really? But, the disciples do as they are told and bring the donkey to Jesus. Jesus mounts onto the donkey and rides into Jerusalem with his disciples. The crowds of people are so happy to see him, and they greet the ‘new kid in town’ with palms and cloaks laid out for him like a red carpet, singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
I believe that if I had been a disciple, I would think that maybe Jesus got it all wrong. Maybe, just maybe, things haven’t turned out so bad after all. Maybe Jesus really is the one who has come to save Israel – to be their King and make everything right! Thanks be to God!
However, you and I know the end of the story. We know how quickly everything turned from joy to great and horrific sadness. We know about the violence that is about to take place. We know that Jesus will indeed, be spat upon, flogged, mocked, and crucified. Isn’t it just like the human race – for one minute, we love our God so much, but when things don’t go our way, we turn away from Him?
On Palm Sunday, this Palm Sunday, our churches will be empty because of the Virus that has brutally attacked our communities, our county, and our world. It will be difficult to be filled with joy as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. However, it is the time to wave our hands, our palms, and give thanks to our Lord for going to Jerusalem in the first place! Because here is the thing – we do not deserve it. We do not deserve what our Lord is about to do for us.
Instead, Jesus rides on…And, He does it for our sake – not His! He is God! Jesus doesn’t need to be saved! But, he knows that we do. He knows that because He loves us so much – that the only way for us to be near Him in our lives is that He must RIDE ON.
So, what if we were one of Jesus’ disciples that day…What would we be thinking? What would we be feeling? Would we be filled with joy? Or, would we be afraid?
Let us pray…Gracious God, you are in our midst and You sent Your Son to this world for our sake – Just for us! There is no other explanation. As we walk beside you as you ride into Jerusalem, give us the strength for what lies ahead. Because now we are on the ride of our lifetime! Amen.