Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lent, Day 40, Sun., April 9th, 2017

Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Palm Sunday

We have been taking a look at Jesus’ last months on earth (Lent, Days 37-39), reflecting on His Perseverance, Preparation, and Presentation. We deduced that Jesus demonstrated perseverance as He continued to minister, that He attempted to prepare His disciples for His death, and that throughout His three-years of ministry, Jesus presented different characteristics of Himself. Furthermore, we recognized that as Jesus readied Himself to enter Jerusalem for the last time, the dichotomy of the humble image He would present and the conquering, politically-minded Messiah the people expected were literally worlds apart (Jn. 18:36).
In March, 2016, while listening to Joel Osteen, he challenged listeners, “God, Don’t let me die with unfulfilled dreams on the inside.” Most of us would like to believe that when we are on our death bed we won’t have any regrets; yet that is precisely the time that qualms emerge. Furthermore, when people are dying their priorities change based on new perspectives.  Tim McGraw captures this shift in the lyrics of the song, “Live Like You Were Dying,” which concludes with, "Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.”  The song challenges us to grow in our relationships and to try new experiences, which is one way to reduce our regrets. Nonetheless, many individuals live their lives by the sentiments expressed in the song, “My Way”, which concludes with, “The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.” Conversely, Jesus didn’t have any regrets, because He did it (life) God’s way (Jn. 5: 18-20). Consequently, He never wavered from His goal--to be the Paschal Lamb, who would save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:21).
The Triumphal Entry:
And so, as they neared Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples to a village near Bethpage to bring back a donkey and her foal, with the instruction to tell anyone that might question them that the Lord needed the animals (Mt. 21:1-3; Mk. 11:1-6; Lk. 19: 28-34).  The disciples returned, placed their cloaks on the colt, and helped Jesus to mount it.  Finally!  The moment had come for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on the colt, which was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9. This was the perfect time for the Prince of Peace to proclaim His identity, because there were throngs of people arriving for the annual Passover Feast. Word quickly spread that Jesus was arriving, and the people gave Jesus the red-carpet treatment as they spread their cloaks on the pathway in front of Him. Others cut palm branches and hurried to greet Him with excited cheers, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!” (Mt. 21: 8-11; Mk. 11:8-11; Lk. 19:36-39; Jn. 12: 12-13). What a joyous parade! But there are always those who insist on raining on others’ parades.  In this case, the Pharisees, who, in sharp contrast to the crowd’s enthusiastic response, advised Jesus to silence the people. Instead Jesus surprised—and likely aggravated-- them with His answer, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out,” (Lk. 19-39-40, NIV).
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

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