Sunday, April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday thoughts...


With His gaze set on His destiny, His will yielded in obedience to His Father, and His great heart set on the joy of the redemption He was going to bring to all who would receive Him, Jesus entered Jerusalem. As He road into the city on a borrowed donkey, the crowd gathered along the road, cutting branches from the trees and removing their coverings to lay them in the road before Him. "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!", they cried.

Gathered in that praising crowd there were those that, just days later, would be trading their praises for shouts of, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" Perhaps they became offended when He entered their temple, turning over the tables of the money changers and those that sold the doves for sacrifice, declaring that His house was to be a house of prayer and not a den of robbers. Perhaps they listened to the chief priests and scribes who insisted that He was full of the devil and was most definitely not the long awaited Messiah. Perhaps they became disillusioned when He didn't fight against their Roman oppressors like they thought the Messiah would. Perhaps it was all of the above. He just wasn't measuring up to their idea of what and Who they thought the Messiah would be, which means He must be an imposter. Their disappointment in Him turned into despite of Him.

Also, gathered in that praising crowd were those who were convinced of His goodness. They had seen Him heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the dead.Yet, they couldn't quite put the puzzle pieces together about Him. Was He John the Baptist come back to life, maybe Elijah? Was He another great prophet sent from God?

There were a few in the crowd who knew in their heart Who He was. He was the Messiah sent from God. Some of the things He said and did were hard for them to understand. His talk of His coming death made no sense to them. If He knew that the religious leaders were out to kill Him, why was He insisting on going to Jerusalem right into their trap? Yet, He had changed their lives. Their understanding of Him was lacking, but still growing. Yet, they believed.

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday. Next week our churches will probably be a but more full than usual as we gather to celebrate Easter Sunday. Like that Palm Sunday crowd centuries ago, there will be those who have ideas and expectations about Who Jesus is, yet they don't really know Him personally. They may come in disillusioned about Him because of suffering and injustice that has touched their life. They may even be offended or angry. There will also be those Who think Jesus was a good man, a prophet or a great teacher. They don't realize that He is God's only Son, the Messiah, the Savior sent to save them from their sin, the One Way to relationship with Father God and life eternal. And there will be those Who really know who Jesus is, they have made the choice to receive Him as their Savior and Lord. Perhaps they don't understand Him fully, but they are seeking Him and wanting to grow in their understanding of Him and relationship with Him.  This week let's pray for those who will gather in our churches this coming Easter Sunday-the hurting, the offended and angry ones, the unbelieving, the disappointed, the seeking-that God's truth would penetrate their minds, that the reality of Who Jesus is will be made clear to them, that God's love will penetrate their hearts, that they will open their hearts to Him, receive Him and decide to follow Him.
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