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The Triumphal Entry

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee” (vv. 1-11).

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Categories: jesus, matthew, palm sunday

Ouline of Matthew 21

  1. Palm Sunday and Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
  2. Jesus Clears the Temple
  3. The Chief Priests and Scribes Criticize Jesus’ Miracles
  4. Next Day, Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
  5. Jesus Tells Some Parables
  6. The Chief Priests and Pharisees Get Ticked Off

Outline of Luke 19

  1. Zaccheus
  2. The Parable of the Talents: Angry Version
  3. Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
  4. Jesus Clears the Temple
Categories: jesus, luke, palm sunday, parable

Palm Sunday, Lutheran-Style

It has been interesting participating in a church that has strong liturgy. After spending many years at a contemporary church with little beyond an annual celebration of Easter and Christmas, this is refreshing.

Our kids particularly enjoy interactive service elements. Jack yelled, “This is the best Sunday EVER” when we got to decorate the Chrismon tree during a Sunday service in late November, and today he helped lead the Palm Sunday processional. Sarah was so excited to find out that we would be allowed to take home “a SOUVENIR,” the palm branches in honor of this day.

I enjoyed listening to the choir sing the opening call to worship from the stairs leading to the balcony. Even the adults didn’t enter the sanctuary until after the kids began the processional. It was a wonderful and meaningful worship experience.

Categories: Lutheran, palm sunday

Outline of John 9-12

  1. Jesus Heals a Blind Man, Controversy Follows
  2. I Am the Good Shepherd
  3. Jesus Resurrects Lazarus
  4. Plot to Kill Jesus
  5. Mary Anoints Jesus
  6. Palm Sunday: Triumphal Entry
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Categories: bible, john, outline, palm sunday

Jesus’ Final Week: Initial Reflections

Although Matthew’s account of Palm Sunday is somewhat better-known, I feel drawn to the account in Luke 19.

The geography of Jesus’ trip into Jerusalem is interesting. He starts by passing through Jericho. This is where he stops to spend time with Zacchaeus. Then he approaches Bethphage (on the Mount of Olives) and Bethany (lit. house of unripe figs). There are about two miles remaining from this point in the journey.

Jesus uses this road in his Parable of the Good Samaritan. Clearly it had a reputation for being a dangerous route.

This trip is a total of 17 miles. I wonder how early Jesus started his trip, and how he was able to arrive at Jerusalem before sundown. How long did Jesus stay at Zacchaeus’ house? Did Jesus’ disciples ride uphill on camels or horses? Mark 11:11 indicates that it was already late when Jesus got into the city, so this appears consistent.

Jesus directs two of his disciples (which two?) to go ahead into Jerusalem and get a colt which had never before been ridden. According to Max Lucado, the phrasing of their request, “The Lord needs it,” indicates royal privilege. This is a king’s trip, but on a commoner’s ride, clearly prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

The Pharisees are upset by the praise Jesus is receiving, but Jesus tells them that even the stones will praise him, if necessary, in Luke 19:39-40.

In verses 41-44, Jesus prophesies the upcoming siege of Jerusalem and persecution of God’s chosen people. I wonder what he means by the phrase, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Why is it hidden? Who is hiding this truth? There appears to be a complex relationship among good and evil, natural and spiritual, free will and predestination.

One of my earliest memories in church is singing the song, “Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man.” It’s a simple story of the profound change Jesus can bring to anyone open to his forgiveness. But I’d never realized that this happened early on Palm Sunday.

How incredible that before participating in his public inauguration he would spend a significant amount of time at a tax collector’s home.

There are striking parallels between the atmosphere describing Palm Sunday and the anticipation I sense around the United States in anticipation of Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday. The excitement is palpable.

However, there is a strong note of caution. Jesus tells the Parable of the Ten Minas, what I’ve always thought of as a darker version of the Parable of the Talents. In Luke 19:11 (NIV), we read:

While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.

This parable parallels a historical event from Jesus’ boyhood:

“The historical background for the parable was the visit of Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, to Rome to secure permission to reign as a so-called client king, i.e., over a territory actually subject to Rome. This petition was opposed by a delegation of Archelaus’ own subjects” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

By implication, the kingdom of God is not intended to “appear at once.” Just as Archelaus was not accepted by his subjects, neither is Jesus.

This is an incredibly full and rich day, and there are an infinite number of lessons available to those who dig into the historical and spiritual record of Jesus’ final week of life before his crucifixion and resurrection.

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