Sunday, April 13, 2014

Who is this?

Jesus' Triumphal Entry 
by Alexandre Bida

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 21:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying 'Who is this?'" Matthew 21:10

I sometimes wish that I could strip away all familiarity with the Bible stories and read them again for the first time. Wouldn't it be a thrill, here, to see Jesus triumphant at last, and enjoy the exultation of the moment untainted with the knowledge that this incident was just a blip and that a few hours from now, a crowd (maybe some from that crowd( would be shouting something altogether different?

I love the way all Jerusalem reverberates with the question: "Who is this?" So many answers jump off the page:

- This was a Man who had unusual knowledge: "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her..." Jesus tells His disciples (Matthew 21:1-3).

- This was a Man who knew His role in history: "All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet..." (Matthew 21:4-7).

- This was a man who was humble, yet accepted worship (Matthew 21:8-9).

Was this only a man?

J. I. Packer in his book Knowing God says:

"If Jesus had been no more than a very remarkable, godly man, the difficulties in believing what the New Testament tells us about His life and work would be truly mountainous. But if Jesus was the same person as the eternal Word, the Father's agent in creation, 'through whom also He made the worlds' (Hebrews 1:2 RV), it is no wonder if fresh acts of creative power marked His coming into this world and His life in it, and His exit from it. It is not strange that He, the author of life, should rise from the dead.

If He was truly God the Son, it is much more startling that He should die than that He should rise again. 'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies,' wrote Wesley; but there is no comparable mystery in the Immortal's resurrection.

And if the immortal Son of God did really submit to taste death, it is not strange that such a death should have saving significance for a doomed raced. Once we grant that Jesus was divine, it becomes unreasonable to find difficulty in any of this; it is all of a piece, and hangs together completely. The incarnation is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it makes sense of everything else that the New Testament contains."
- J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 53-54.

Who is this?

The multitudes answered: "This is Jesus the prophet from Nazareth of Galiliee." To them He was a man with a name, a vocation, and a place of birth on the globe.

We know, though, He was and is much more, and that this triumphant moment was bittersweet because He understood the utter desolation to death that awaited Him. Yet he went through with it. Why? Here is Paul's answer:

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" 2 Corinthians 8:9.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, God the Son, thank You for coming to earth, taking on the humility of a human body, going through the ups and downs of human experience, then taking the punishment I deserve for my sins, so that my relationship with God can be restored. Amen.

MORE: Palm Sunday

Today the church commemorates the Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday. The day's liturgy contains with this collect:

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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