The Inside Column 9/4

Posted in: The Inside Column- Apr 10, 2017 No Comments

Good morning and a very warm welcome to you.  We invite you to join us after the service for a hot drink and fellowship.

 Psalm Sunday and Jesus enters Jerusalem

 Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

 The story of Palm Sunday really begins with a donkey. Most of us have heard how Jesus sent his disciples to a nearby village with instructions to bring back a donkey. Matthew’s account tells us that by riding a donkey into Jerusalem Jesus was fulfilling an ancient prophecy from Zechariah 9:9. Those words–written 575 years earlier–predicted that when Messiah came to Israel, he would come riding on a donkey.

 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.”

 Nothing would have seemed more unlikely than for a king to come riding on a donkey. If you wanted to make an impact, you would come in on a war-horse or surrounded by soldiers or mounted on a chariot, But on a donkey?

Picture the scene; As Jesus leaves Bethany for the Mount of Olives, hundreds of people come running to join him. If you read John’s account, it is clear that another large crowd in Jerusalem, having heard that Jesus was on his way, leaves the city to meet him as he approaches the Mount of Olives. Somewhere on the far side of the Kidron Valley, the two groups join in shouting, singing, laughing, dancing and chanting.

Meanwhile inside the city, the chief priests and scribes see what’s happening and are getting anxious. A public display of support for Jesus was the last thing they wanted. The minutes turn to hours on Palm Sunday and the tensions rise. On one hand there is rising excitement as Jesus nears the entrance; on the other hand there is mounting opposition as the leaders decide that Jesus will not leave the city alive.

Meanwhile the procession makes its way toward Jerusalem, the shouts of the people growing louder by the minute. All four gospel writers make a point not only to mention that the people shouted, but also what they shouted. They specifically mention two things: First they cried out “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!”, and second they said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” “Hosanna!” is a Hebrew word meaning “Save us now.”  Jews immediately recognized the second statement as a quotation from Psalm 118. One of the best-known Messianic psalms. By shouting these words, the people were in effect explicitly identifying Jesus as the promised Messiah. These people believed that at long last the Messiah had come.

Palm Sunday reminds us that each of us must sooner or later make up our minds about Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ

Philip

 

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