Reading through the Gospels chronologically through Lent – Today’s Readings: Mark 11:27-12:17; Matthew 21:28-22:22 Luke 20:1-26
Mark 10:46 (NIV) 46 “As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
Mark 10:52 (NIV) 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 11:1-3 (NIV) 1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'”
It’s Sunday, the week of the Passover. Six days from now Jesus will be dead. Today is NOT a day for mourning, but a day of great celebration. By now the crowd is really stirred up, and in fact, so much so that it is bothering the Pharisees, as Luke notes,
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Then, reality sets in for Jesus.
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Luke 19:39-44 (NIV)
A flood of emotion overflows the heart of Christ. It isn’t often that we see a weeping Christ. In fact, there is only one other time when the Bible records Jesus weeping, at the grave of Lazarus. (John 11:35)
Now, as Jesus enters the city, the city that did not recognize Him, the city who would soon condemn Him to death and accuse Him of perverting the nation (Luke 23:2), Jesus weeps.
How ironic! The Messiah, the Savior of Israel, comes into Jerusalem riding upon a donkey in fulfillment of the Scripture,
Zechariah 9:9 (NIV) 9 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, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
John adds one more detail that we don’t want to miss in this Palm Sunday narrative:
John 12:16-19 (NIV) 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. 17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Let the Passion Begin!
Father, this day as we prepare for Palm Sunday, we offer our hosannas to Your One and Only Son. Father, we want to welcome Jesus into our hearts on this day; however, Father, we also are caught up in weeping along with Your Son over Jerusalem, the Holy City, which is mentioned so often in Holy Scripture. Father, we know that it was not Jerusalem or the Romans or even the Sanhedrin who killed the Savior – it was our sins that led to His accepting the cross. Father, we thank You and still praise Him and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”. Amen.