Posted by on Mar 28, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Marching On

Dear Lord…please speak to us as we begin the consideration of this Holy Week with Palm Sunday. May we realize anew the blessings you have given us and that you gave us when you suffered on the cross and rose again. Please be with the people in Alabama who are recovering from a tornado and other storms. We ask your healing arms around the people in Anamosa as they begin their recovery from the tragedy there in the penitentiary there. We would also ask, along with the other Christians, that the tragedy in Boulder, CO, bring healing for the families affected. Thank you, Lord, for your love and for your Son. Amen

On this 5th Sunday we are celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Our gospel lesson is Mark 11:1-11.

To begin our consideration of this event, we need to go to the Old Testament book of Zechariah 9:9. This is what is written there: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he., humble and riding on a donkey on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” This was the prophecy that Jesus is now fulfilling.

Needless to say, the crowd senses the importance of this entrance. They believe this man is coming in the name of the Lord, but they do not understand the actual role of the Messiah as they believe he will reestablish the kingdom of David and free them from the prosecution and hold of the Roman rulers.

Let’s look a little more closely at what we see here. Jesus entered Bethany from the Mount of Olives to proceed to Jerusalem. He sent two people to Bethpage to find a colt. There is no specific indication if it was a donkey or a foal of a horse…just that they would find a new colt. This colt had never been ridden. It has had nothing to do with humans and is untamed.

The two people are to tell the owner that the Lord needs the colt. The owners gave permission to take the colt. When they brought it to Jesus…and began the ride into Jerusalem, but people watching the procession put their cloaks and the palm branches down on the road. This was not only a gesture of respect, but it was also so that the colt’s feet would not touch the ground or any stones. This was quite apart from human efforts. I had never looked at this practice that way.

So…the crowd is watching Jesus process in on the back of this sacred colt….and the colt is sacred because it is carrying the one who comes in the name of the Lord. The crowd is yelling “save us”,…”rescue us”. They feel that this person coming into Jerusalem in a procession resembling a military procession would restore to them the kingdom of David.

So…we see: 1) Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a consecrated animal. 2)He rides into the center of the house of Israel. 3) The crowds are shouting for divine rescue. 4) They are acknowledging Jesus as a Son of David.
At this point, Jesus leave the parade and we can only assume that the people took the colt back to its owners. Jesus entered the temple…looked around and viewed everything and then took the disciples back to Bethany.

I wonder what happened to the people who were lining the streets watching Jesus enter the city. It was really much like some of the visions of parades we see today, isn’t it? People joyfully shouting praise to Jesus, even though they have no idea who Jesus really is.

I can see the people watching Jesus waving the branches…as well as throwing them down on the road. They are joyful and expecting something great. That happening will not be exactly as they imagine it, though, will it?

What if this parade would happen in our time? How big would the crowds be that would be following Jesus? What would they be shouting? Would they be holding up posters? Where would they be for the remainder of this week? Would they be wondering when this Jesus would be taking over the temple and putting aside the Roman rulers?

We have all seen parades and demonstrations this year. However, this parade is different. What Jesus is actually trying to tell people is that watching him enter the city was only part of the story. What he wants is for the people to realize he is the Son of God and the Messiah. They would have to wait for a week to see that, wouldn’t they?

What would they do after they realized who Jesus really was? Would they go back to their work and life just as it was before they saw the parade of the Palms? Would this experience have any effect on them? I truly believe Jesus wanted those people to march on to bring the news of this experience to other people.

Jesus would want them…as he wants us….to realize that we all are marching on in our Christian life and we have work to do. We have people to meet. We have love to show to others….that will show God’s love for all people. Jesus had not told the people openly who he was, but here he is telling the people through the parade and his actions that he IS the Messiah. He wanted them to tell others….to march on in the work of telling people what they had seen and heard to convert others to him.

Jesus wants us to do the same thing. We have seen God’s work in our world and we are not to stay silent after this. We are to tell others through our words and our actions of God’s love and saving actions toward us all. It IS rather like marching on toward the goal God has set for all of us as we are his family and we can participate in the joy of this parade of Palms as well as forgiveness and salvation.

March on!

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