Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

And so begins Holy Week...

Today is Palm is a story recorded in all four of the gospels in various detail and depth: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19.

The shortest is perhaps Johns version...the most detailed perhaps Matthews. (I am partial to Matthew, so my opinion may be skewed.)

Jayden and I were listening to the song Drops in the Ocean by Hawk Nelson. There is a line in the song: If you want to see how much you mean to Me, look at My hands, look at My side. 

I asked my sweet 8 year old if he knew what it meant, and ensued a conversation that was probably a lot for his eight year old heart to take. We embarked on the simplest way I knew how to explain why there would be a wound in Jesus side. He asked me to stop talking "all this death."

It got me really thinking about Palm Sunday...My children know of the Lordship of Jesus, of the miraculously empty tomb. They know of Heavenly eternity and how Jesus loves them so much He came for them. It is enough for now in their journey. But it is far from being the whole of the story. Christmas and Easter belong together...He came, yes...but He also suffered and died. 

I remained in the happy parts of the resurrection story for far too long in my own Christian journey. 

I comfortably camped there in the "Happily Eve After" until after 30 years of age. Its a nice place to camp. But it does not grant us the perspective of our freedom from sin that we really should have.

One day, on the drive home, I heard a radio program where a doctor was describing the physical aspects of Crucifixion. As I listened to the very graphic explanation of how the process worked in Roman times and the effects on the body of such a torturous method of execution, I had to pull over on the side of the road.

I was sick to my stomach and sobbing so uncontrollably that I was not safe driving. The truth of just the physical suffering is enough to wreck my frail human heart. I almost dare not consider the spiritual suffering that Jesus endured.

For me. For you. For us all.

My favorite version of the Palm Sunday story is the one in Matthew:

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

His riding into the city on a colt from a donkey would have been well recognized by any devout is part of a prophesy in Zechariah 9:9 - something at least the men of the time would have studied. There would have been no mistaking the statement he was making with this entrance.
And the crowd who met him there in the streets celebrated his Kingship...a Kingship they did not fully comprehend, laying palm branches and their cloaks before him, in offertory submission...
But by Thursday, they would be crying for his death...
The fickle nature of the human heart...
Today I will reflect...who is Jesus to me? Is He only my Happily Ever After? My celebratory cloak thrown to the ground? Is He, my prophet, my teacher, my rabbi? Someone to grant my own selfish desires and make me comfortable?
Or is He my Savior, my Master, my salvation from sin and my own wicked ways? Is He holes in hands and side in supreme sacrifice for the souls of the lost? Do I remember how it felt to know what His crucifixion was like? What He suffered so that I don't have to? 
Which Jesus am I looking at as I approach the Cross?
Peace, ya'll

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