Palm Sunday April 5th, 2009

(from Lutheran Church of the Master’s monthly publication ‘The Mast’)

This Sunday observes the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jer usalem that was marked by the crowds, who were in Jerusalem for passover, waving palm branches and procaliming  him as the messianic king. The Gospels tell us that Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, enacting the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, and in so doing emphasized the humilty that was to characterize the Kingdom he proclaimed. The irony of his acceptance as the new Davidic King (Mark11:10) by the crowds who would only five days later cry for his execution should be a sobering reminder of the human tendency to want God on our own terms.

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Are there ways in which you can see this tendency in yourself and the way you might often view the Living God as someone who will provide you with things that are not necessarily things that you need?

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16 Responses

  1. Walking humbly with God is one of the hardest tasks for us Christians.

  2. What a difference a week makes from Palm Sunday.

    On one day the crowds were shouting his popularity with the Apostles walking beside saying “I am with Him”.

    And the next week being crucified and the apostles disowning Him…a testimony to human natures need for the all sufficiency of Jesus and the Cross…. because if we were personally with Jesus 2000 years ago…. we would probably do the same.

  3. His public presentation of Himself as the Messiah was not a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was “rejected”. I don’t like the term. Wait until you see Him someday when He comes and the “….dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them….” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). You will see that tremendous throng of folk who have trusted Christ during more than 2000 years-millions of saints going out. My friend, that will really be a triumphal entry. I think it’s going to take place over a long period of time. The raising will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, but the parade has a long way to go. He is going to lead them into a new place, a new creation, a new home for this group. It will not be just to the moon, but to the New Jerusalem. What a glorious thing that will be! That will be triumphant! Oops…..I got off subject???

  4. Being human works against us, and being a prosperous, comfortable American works against us even more. We remake God in our image, so that he’s like an ATM. Let’s hear it for Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn!

    Surely God delights in providing our needs, and I would argue that He even delights in blessing His children abundantly in various ways (which can include the blessing of purification by suffering) beyond our needs.

    But we pervert the paradigm when we come to see the Mighty God as Santa Claus. We exist for Him, not the other way around.

    As to your question, yes I have been guilty. So I repent and ask God to deepen my understanding of who He is.

  5. Ike, the initial entry into jersualem was a triumphant entry.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=21&version=31

    Even though he entered by humble means the entry was triumphal.

    9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
    “Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”
    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
    “Hosanna[d] in the highest!”
    10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
    11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

    But, it quickly deteriorates… especially as Jesus pointed out the sins of the religious order … the pharisees

  6. Sorry Jon… but I disagree. Remember that the so-called triumphal entry ended at the cross. But He will come the second time in “triumph”. The writer to the Hebrews puts this together in a wonderful way: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28). We are told in Zechariah 14:4 that when He comes the next time to this earth, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives-that’s where He enters the city of Jerusalem, that will be the triumphal entry! I cannot call these three entries into Jerusalem triumphal entries because He is on His way to the cross to die for your sin and my sin.

  7. I think its important to see the initial entry into Jerusalem as triumphal Ike. Not sure what could be more triumphal than people laying down their cloaks for your donkey to walk on. See the verse above.

    The reason I think this is important is because it shows the contrast of the disciples. At this point the disciples loved being with Jesus. A week later Peter disowns Jesus 3 times. It demonstrates the human heart.

    Praise Jesus for his work on the cross!

  8. I have no problem with the triumphal language on Palm Sunday (Jon Spadinos’s point is well taken) since Jesus act on this day both fulfills the prophecy of the coming King and is an overt political act and would have been seen as such. Behind this, in the first century context, is the reality of the Roman triumphal procession.
    In Ephesians 4 we read: “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” This text appeals more directly to the imagery of the Roman Triumph, when the victorious general led captives in display and distributed largesse to the people.

  9. a god who fits in my pocket isnt big enough to save me.

  10. Are there ways in which you can see this tendency in yourself and the way you might often view the Living God as someone who will provide you with things that are not necessarily things that you need?

    Yes, and let me count the ways. Got a few days to kill?

    Brad

  11. Mike Bell at the Eclectic Christian blog site, he is a frequent contributor to Imonk, has a differing take on this than i heard in the past. He claims the crowd that cried out “Hosanna” was a different crowd than the one inside the city. I don’t know, but he makes a good point. http://eclecticchristian.com/

  12. Hi Steve (and Will),

    Sorry I haven’t visited here for a while.

    Some good recent posts.

    The idea did not originate with me, although I can no longer remember where I heard it first.

    Read the post for yourself. I think it is the only explanation that makes sense.

    I started blogging just before Palm Sunday a year ago, and so this topic was certainly on my mind at the beginning of my blogging journey.

  13. P.S. Come back and visit Steve. I miss your comments at Eclectic Christian.

  14. E.C.,
    I read your post and I have heard a similar explanation before. It makes a lot of sense. The Gospel writers are quick to point out that the trial of Jesus and taking Him before Pilate both happened very early, (i.e. before the big crowds entered the city). If they got Him on the cross by the time of the morning sacrifice as the Gospels indicate, it is likely that they avoided the throngs of common people who had followed Him for the most part.

  15. jeofurry,

    Hadn’t thought about the morning sacrifice thing, I will have to look it up and possibly add it in.

  16. Mike,
    I did a paper for a class a few weeks ago about the various connections of John’s gospel to the symbolism of the Feasts and how he used that to demonstrate Jesus as the promised Messiah. The actual time is given in Mark 15:25 and Matthew, Mark and Luke all talk about Simon who carried Jesus’ cross and refer to him coming in to the city from the country. Another interesting side question is why we know Simon’s name at all. Some suppose it is probably because he became a believer, which would make plenty of sense.
    Jeff

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