Sunday, April 09, 2017

Riding to Jerusalem—but not to coronation

Stained glass window - Jesus rides into Jerusalem
Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Philippians 2:1-11

“And being in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8

Today is Palm Sunday—the day we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (recorded in Matthew 21:1-9; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19).

It was a symbolic ride. Matthew and John point out how this act fulfilled prophecy (Matthew 21:4,5; John 12:14,15). The people, with a display that showed they recognized what was being said (they spread their clothes in front of the donkey and waved palm branches in celebration) shouted praise to Jesus, who they thought they would soon be crowning as their earthly king (Matthew 21:9; Luke 19:38; John 12:15).

But Jesus knew that this ride was not a ride to a coronation but a crucifixion. In John the account of Him riding into Jerusalem is followed immediately by His explanation of these events to His disciples:
‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain … Now My soul is troubled and what shall I say? “Father, save Me from this hour”? But for this purpose I came to this hour” John 12:23,27 (emphasis added).

And so the challenge Jesus left with His disciples (us)‘He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life'"- John 12:25)—and Paul left with his readers (the church, us)“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God … made Himself of no reputation” - Philippians 2:5-7)—is to look past the apparent to the real:
  • The real reason Jesus came, which was to glorify His father through His death and resurrection (John 12:28).
  • The real reason we’re alive, which is to bring glory to the Father (Philippians 2:11), however that will happen and whatever it means to us of life or death.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for willingly becoming that grain of wheat who died to produce much grain. I join with the kneeling, praising multitudes to confess You are Lord. Please give me Your attitude of obedience and self-sacrifice. Amen.

MORE: Palm Sunday

The Collect in the Palm Sunday liturgy:
"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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