Sunday, April 1, 2012

Holy Week 2012: Palm Sunday

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Today (Palm Sunday) marks the beginning of Holy Week and the end of Lent. In church today we talked about Palm Sunday being the commemoration of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, which fulfilled Old Testament prophesy about the coming Messiah. It's a very difficult concept for us to comprehend today, knowing what we do after nearly two thousand years of reflection and study. At the time, everyone was anticipating God's King to arrive in a very different manner than He came - in power and strength, publicly announcing His Kingdom and bringing justice to a people under Roman authority. You can imagine the expectations for a good political platform, social prowess, a superior physique, and with an unmatched army.

But that's not how Jesus came.

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True, He had all the power and authority of the universe - more so, in fact, than anyone ever knew or understood (otherwise, He would not have been killed). The baffling part of God's plan, however, is that Jesus surrendered it all and submitted to the will of man, resulting in His own crucifixion. He came from a nowhere town, was hated by His own countrymen, had an insignificant following of sinners and outcasts, was a simple carpenter by trade, and was threatened with stoning whenever He preached. How could this man be the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah?

And then He rode in on a donkey.

As I imagine the scene, my first reaction is pity. It's really quite a pitiful entrance if you think about it. There's no way this could compare with the imaginative expectations of the faithful who had been waiting centuries for the Christ. Jesus of Nazareth is not the Messiah. From a human standpoint, not a single one of us could answer honestly that we would connect those dots and receive Him for who He really is, not even one. To see and receive Him as God's appointed Savior would require unrequited grace - God's initiating and revealing in our hearts His true identity. So to see Jesus not riding on a stallion with majesty and honor is nearly pathetic.

(To be continued on Maundy Thursday...)

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