Matthew 21:1-12 – Hosanna!

Read Matthew 21:1-12

palm branches

When you think of Palm Sunday, what is the first memory that comes to your mind? Please share in the comments. I’m expecting that waving palm fronds and processionals in church come to mind. These are precious memories that help us remember a special day!

I had the honor and privilege to teach Mexican children about Palm Sunday this year. While we have plenty of palm trees in our neighborhood, I wasn’t keen on climbing them to pull down some palm leaves, so we used balloons for our praise and adoration time. To see the delight on the children’s faces and imagine that it was seeing Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem with that much joy was very moving.

Continue reading “Matthew 21:1-12 – Hosanna!”

Mark 11:1-11 – All the Bells and Whistles

Read Mark 11:1-11

When reading today’s passage, I felt like it should be Spring, preparing for Easter. Did you have that same sense? This is one of the four accounts of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem that my church tradition, at least, celebrated as Palm Sunday.

All through Mark’s gospel, Jesus has been looking ahead to Jerusalem. He knew that that was where his fate would lead him. If you have read the other gospel accounts of this Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, you may notice that Mark seems a little more low key than the others.

Another striking difference is that while Jesus goes directly to the temple, in Mark’s account he simply looks around and leaves. You may recall it is at this moment, in other gospels, that Jesus encounters the money changers and other vendors in the temple which infuriates him. This is the temple for heaven’s sake, not the Walmart! We almost expect that scene here, and when it doesn’t happen it seems odd. To me, at least.

Mark’s focus on Jesus’ road to Jerusalem has been more human and purposeful. We have already seen Jesus angry, frustrated and a little put out with his disciples. We have seen his humanity. Mark also downplays the pomp and circumstance of Jesus’ arrival in comparison to the other gospels. Yes, there are shouts of praise and honoring behavior, but maybe less intense.

Jesus certainly does deserve our shouts of praise. Unless you are reading this for the first time, you know how the story goes and what Jesus has done for us. He’s been telling the disciples all along how the story is going to play out. A bit of foreshadowing I suppose. We’ll be walking through that later in the posts to follow.

Did Jesus march triumphantly into your life or has he always been there as a close companion? Maybe there have been times in your life when you, like the disciples, have been a little confused by what is happening in your life. Many times we ask ourselves, “Why me?” Once on the other side of a complex situation, I’ve often looked back and seen God’s fingerprints all over. Sometimes you have to look harder than others, but God is constant. He is there in the good times and bad. We can be sure of that, whether we feel him close or not.

Take a moment to re-read today’s text. Picture yourself there, watching Jesus, riding on a donkey, entering a big city with people surrounding him. You know where he’s going. Imagine if he had run the other way? He didn’t. He loves you that much.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for marching into my heart and life in a new way each day. You never press in without invitation. Thank you that you are always standing ready. May my heart and mind be welcoming to you. May only praise be on my lips. Help me to not find fault, feel guilt or be in denial when it comes to the beautiful creature you have made me. Rescue me from this pit of uncertainty and self-doubt. We’ve been down this road before and you helped me be victorious. Thank you for the strength I feel brewing inside. I am about to blossom again all because of your love for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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