Thursday, April 14, 2011

Palm Sunday

I'm taking a break from the Psalms to read about Easter.  The day we celebrate Palm Sunday, is also known as the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  I always like to start reading the Bible with the question, "Where am I?"  It's around 33 AD.

The story begins while Jesus and the disciples were on a journey.  As they left Jericho, an interesting event took place.  Two blind men were sitting by the road.  There must've been something that stirred their hearts when they heard Jesus was passing by.  Though they couldn't see, they recognized Him when He came near. 
Matthew 20:29-34
29 Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. 30 And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!"
31 Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!"
32 So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
33 They said to Him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." 34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
I pray the Lord will open our eyes, that we may see Jesus this year in our Easter celebrations.

Matthew 21:1-17
1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.  3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."

4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
5 "Tell the daughter of Zion,
'Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"
This prophecy was first recorded in Zechariah 9:9, and fulfilled with Jesus.

This is strange for the disciples.  Usually when Jesus asked them to do something, they were full of questions.  I wonder if they shrugged their shoulders and whispered, "What do you think He's up to?"  Someone might have answered, "Don't know.  We should just do it."  By this time they knew Jesus wasn't popular with the temple leaders in Jerusalem.  Maybe they simply did it out of faith, full of apprehension as to what came next.
6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them

7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

"Hosanna to the Son of David!
'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'
Hosanna in the highest!"
This was originally written in Psalm 118:26 in the Old Testament.  It was fulfilled by Jesus.

It must've been a wonderful moment for all who witnessed it.  I can hear the whispers and feel the love of the multitude.  People who had heard His teaching and seen His miracles continued to follow Him.
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?"
11 So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee."

For the disciples, everything must've seemed great.  All are happy, everything's fine.  But Jesus had an important task at hand.  He went into the temple.  The temple that never recognized Him as the Messiah, even tried to kill Him as a baby.  It was no longer God's House like King David had dreamed.  It was now a money making industry.  
12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"

Instead of raising a scepter and wearing a golden crown with jewels like I would think a king would do, Jesus healed the blind and lame in the temple.  The children sang "Hosanna to the Son of David!"  Hosanna means, "Save now" or "Praise."  The temple had never experienced this before. 

The chief priests and scribes were thrilled?  No, they were indignant.  The only way I can grasp this attitude is to realize the priests and scribes lived in a time when they didn't want a Messiah.  They enjoyed their careers.  They had nice homes and never worried about money.  Perhaps they had nice chariots.  Maybe they just didn't want to think about God right now, it wasn't convenient.  Kind of like the temptations we face.
14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant 16 and said to Him, "Do You hear what these are saying?"
I can imagine how wonderful it must've been to see our King in the Temple.  The children started singing with no prompt- they knew they should.  The blind and lame had the courage to come to Him.  He actually healed from within the Temple. What a wonderful image of Heaven.

I love it when He says, "Have you never read?"  The scribes and chief priests were supposed to be extremely knowledgeable about the Old Testament.  The definition of a scribe from my Bible dictionary is "class of learned men who made the systematic study of the law and its exposition their professional occupation."  So when Jesus said, "Have you never read?" It would've been like asking a heart surgeon if he knew what an artery was.
And Jesus said to them, "Yes. Have you never read,
'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise'?"
This prophecy was recorded in Psalms 8:2, and fulfilled by Jesus.  Amidst the beauty of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, tensions began to rise.  It was all in God's plan.

This would've been the house of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.
17 Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there.


  1. Why do we even bother with other books when we have the bible---it has it ALL. And you cannot make up fiction half as interesting as truth that teaches wisdom of the ages.

  2. I agree. It has humor, drama, love stories, all full of wisdom and truth. I have to admit when you read about all the trouble the scribes and Pharisees got into- it makes you realize how you don't want to claim being an expert. Best to leave the expertise to God! Thanks Clint.