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Walking to Jerusalem

jesus-on-donkey1

Sunday, March 29th
Walking to Jerusalem
Luke 19:29-44

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The Sabbath was drawing to a close as Jesus and His disciples walked toward Jerusalem where they would celebrate Passover together. Jesus sent two of His disciples ahead to bring a colt back. He was thankful they didn’t ask a lot of questions, simply did as He asked.

 

Walking along disciples Jesus listened to the other remaining disciples prattle on about mundane things. These men were precious to Jesus, walking faithfully with Him for three years. Jesus knew they were looking forward to the Passover celebration, yet they had no idea what this year held in store for them. He knew the challenges ahead would test them all and ultimately be too much for some.

 

The group stopped briefly as the two disciples approached with the borrowed colt. Placing their cloaks on the back of the colt and seating Jesus there they continued on the road to Jerusalem. Celebration was in the air as people spread their cloaks and branches on the roads shouting, “Hosanna!”. Children waved palm branches and sang to Jesus. Many of these people were present when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, following Him since. They shouted praises to Jesus and recalled the miracles He had done, praising God. They cried, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

 

Jesus took it all in yet He could not celebrate with them for as He looked through the crowd He also saw the unbelief. It caused Him to weep for the city of Jerusalem, knowing the time had come for His purpose on earth to be completed yet those in authority didn’t recognize Him. They exchanged the peace that comes with knowing Jesus as Lord for earthly power and recognition. Their desire was to be acknowledged by their peers more than embracing the truth that a better reward was in store for those who believed in Jesus.

Some of the Pharisees, very upset by this display, told Jesus to quiet His followers yet Jesus told them if they kept quiet the very stones would cry out. (Luke 19:40)

 

The procession reached the temple area in Jerusalem. Jesus looked around, saddened by what He saw. Since it was late He walked on to Bethany with His disciples for the night, preparing for the challenges of the days ahead. Jesus knew in just a few days many of the same people who were praising would desert Him. They wouldn’t understand the sacrifice He was about to make that would give them a new freedom and power that cannot be attained on earth.

 

As this Holy Week begins how is your heart? Will you go through the week declaring the miracles Jesus has done in your own life or will you be part of the crowd that causes Jesus to weep as He looks your way? Is the desire of your heart to serve Him and not seek the pleasures of this world and the power and pleasures of this earthly life?

 

It can be easy to praise God and welcome Jesus as leader of our lives when we see miracles and other good things happen. It’s also easy to turn away from Him when we don’t understand how He will bring good from a difficult situation.

 

As you walk through this week of remembrance and celebration, join me in allowing God to examine our hearts and intentions. Let Him erase your faults and cleanse your heart so you can cry, “Hosanna” to those around you with a sincere and joy-filled heart.

Prayer

 

Lord, the week ahead will be filled with preparations for Easter. The culture around me doesn’t celebrate You or Your resurrection. As I begin this week cleanse my heart, Lord. Examine me and expose any areas where I need to repent. Cause me to reflect on You and express Your grace and love to those around me. May I be a light for You, showing those around me that Easter is about more than colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and baskets filled with treasures. May I, through my words and actions show the real Easter treasure is You.

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Palm Sunday – It All Started With Hosanna

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
  John 12:12-13

Palm ProcessionIt all started with “Hosanna”.

Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, a very important holiday for the Jewish people. It is at Passover that Jews celebrate their freedom from slavery in Egypt.

A brief history lesson:

God’s people had been slaves in Egypt for generations. What began as an invitation by Pharaoh for Joseph and his family to share the Egyptian land turned into fear. Joseph and all of his brothers had died and a new Pharaoh came to power. He saw how numerous the Israelite nation was and was worried that the Israelites would someday side with Egypt’s enemies in a war…and he would be out of a job, or worse yet, killed.

To prevent this from happening the Egyptians became slave masters over God’s people and forced them to hard labor with little or no pay. They lived this way for over 400 years until God provided a way out for them.

One night the Israelites were instructed to kill a lamb without any deformities and paint its’ blood over the doorposts of their home. The angel of death visited the land of Egypt that night and killed every firstborn son. Those with lamb’s blood on their doorpost would be spared.

That very night God’s people left Egypt under God’s protection and found freedom from the Egyptians. They were no longer slaves but were free to worship their Lord in their own land.

Every year this freedom is remembered and celebrated in the homes of Jewish families and for some it is a time of pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the geographical center of the Jewish faith. This was also true in Jesus’ time.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt that day He was celebrated. People waved palm branches and laid them and garments on the ground for His donkey to walk on. This was a custom when welcoming someone of high honor.

Palm Sunday

People had been following Jesus everywhere He went for years, but He had recently raised Lazarus from the dead and many more who saw or heard what He had done now followed Him into Jerusalem shouting praises to Him and declaring, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Only Jesus knew the truth of what this week held. He would perform more miracles and teach His disciples more about loving, serving, and sacrifice. But riding on that donkey Jesus knew many of the same people singing His praises would desert Him. They wouldn’t understand the sacrifice He was about to make that would give them a new freedom.

He knew before the week was over they would be calling out, “Crucify Him!”

And Jesus knew He would give His life for each one of them.

Jesus’ life had been perfect (just as the lamb at the Passover celebration) so He was the only one who could serve as a sacrifice for us. While He disagreed with the religious leaders and some of the laws of the land Jesus never sinned. He took with Him to the cross the sins of every man, woman and child who ever lived or ever will live.

It can be easy to praise God and welcome Jesus as leader of our lives when we see miracles and other good things happen in our lives. It’s also easy to turn away from Him when we don’t understand how He will bring good from a difficult situation.

As we enter Holy Week and reflect on the last days of Jesus before His ultimate sacrifice may we examine our hearts and ask ourselves if we believe without reservation. Will we stand and proclaim Jesus is Lord through it all?

blessings and peace to you on this Palm Sunday,
Paula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The New Sacrifice

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”    Luke 19:38

Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, a very important holiday for the Jewish people. It is at Passover that Jews celebrate their freedom from slavery in Egypt.

God’s people had been slaves in Egypt for generations. What began as an invitation by Pharaoh for Joseph and his family to share the Egyptian land turned into fear. Joseph and all of his brothers had died and a new Pharaoh came to power. He saw how numerous the Israelite nation was and was worried that the Israelites would someday side with Egypt’s enemies in a war…and he would be out of a job, or worse yet, killed.

To prevent this from happening the Egyptians became slave masters over God’s people and forced them to hard labor with little or no pay. They lived this way for generations until God provided a way out for them.

One night the Israelites were instructed to kill a lamb without any deformities and paint its’ blood over the doorposts of their home. The angel of death visited the land of Egypt that night and killed every firstborn son. Those with lamb’s blood on their doorpost would be spared.

That very night God’s people left Egypt under God’s protection and found freedom from the Egyptians. They were no longer slaves but were free to worship their Lord in their own land.

leaving_egypt

Every year this freedom is remembered and celebrated in the homes of Jewish families and for some it is a time of pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the geographical center of the Jewish faith. This was also true in Jesus’ time.

Remember reading about when Jesus was very young and He taught in the temple? This was during Passover. His family had returned to Jerusalem for the festival that year as well.

This year Jesus knew Passover would be different.

He entered Jerusalem on a colt and was surrounded by hundreds or perhaps thousands of people. People had been following Jesus everywhere He went for years, but just a short time before this Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Many who saw or heard what He had done now followed Him into Jerusalem, shouting praises to Him and declaring, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

jesus_donkey

In just a few days many of these same people would desert Jesus. They wouldn’t understand the sacrifice He was about to make that would give them a new freedom.

Jesus’ life had been perfect (just as the lambs at the Passover celebration) so He was the only one who could serve as a sacrifice for us. While He disagreed with the religious leaders and some of the laws of the land Jesus never sinned. He took with Him to the cross the sins of every man, woman and child who ever lived or ever will live.

It can be easy to praise God and welcome Jesus as leader of our lives when we see miracles and other good things happen in our lives. It’s also easy to turn away from Him when we don’t understand how He will bring good from a difficult situation.

As we enter Holy Week and reflect on the last days of Jesus before His ultimate sacrifice may we examine our hearts and ask ourselves if we believe without reservation. Will we stand and proclaim Jesus is Lord through it all?