Sunday, April 17, 2011

Triumphal Entry

Today, this Palm Sunday, the first day of this trip, we had a pretty good day of RJ flying in the south and then up to Wisconsin.  The strong storms and destructive tornadoes (to property and lives, unfortunately) have moved on out to the east, and all day we enjoyed light winds and blue, sunny skies.  To say we had a 'triumphal entry' back into the skies after this severe weather as passed would be a misnomer; my crew and I were only lucky enough to have our days off during the worst of it recently.

We flew from DC to Charlotte to Memphis to Charlotte to Milwaukee.  Things ran fairly normally except a closed runway in Charlotte (for construction) backed up our taxi in Charlotte a couple of times.  Most of our passengers seemed to be in a friendly, good mood.  I like to think they were is a celebratory mood.  They expected safe, smooth travel, reasonably on time, possibly with a good view out the window.  And for the most part, they got that.  But sometimes expectations don't meet the true reality.

Sharing my peeps good moods and expectations helps me transition into writing about what good moods and expectations the folks in Jerusalem had on the original Palm Sunday, about 2,000 years ago.

Christians observe today as the day Jesus entered and paraded through Jerusalem on a donkey, the week before he was crucified on the cross.  On this day, it was also a celebratory time for the crowds in Jerusalem.  They laid their clothing garments in advance along his path, and others without garments took palm tree branches and did this same.  By this showed great honor and respect to Jesus as he rode through the streets.  They shouted "Hosanna!  Hosanna in the highest!" (save us now!) as he passed along the way.  The Jewish crowds knew from Prophecy that the promised Messiah would enter Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, and that's just what Jesus was doing.  The ones not in the know asked "who is this?"  The response: Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet.  He wasn't Jesus Christ yet, per se, just rumored to be.

Why was Jesus being given the rock star treatment here?  He would be tried for blasphemy and led to the cross (would carry part of his own cross actually) in just a few days, so why all this adulation now?  Jesus was becoming very popular now, due to his teachings, his love for others, his wisdom, and for the miracles he was performing.  In the meantime he had become a big threat to the Pharisees (the religious rulers in Jerusalem) and to the Romans.

He hadn't been back to Jerusalem for a while also.  Jews hoped he would be be their leader in rebellion against the Romans, who were the occupying power, army, and rulers in Jerusalem and Israel.  That possibility of overthrow and freedom from the Romans and for themselves is what seemed to concern the Jews, at that moment anyway.  But Jesus had other objectives.  His mission was given by our heavenly Father, and was one which involved eternal significance.  Let's take a look some of the scripture of his triumphal entry, from Matthew 21:1-11:

 1Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.3If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." 4This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
 5"Say to the daughter of Zion,'Behold, your king is coming to you,
   humble, and mounted on a donkey,
   and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'" (Zechariah 9:9 emphasis added)
 6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" 10And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" 11And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."

This is the celebrity Jesus, but this version would soon give way to the one the crowds and religious leaders were demanding the crucifixion of.  The crowds all wanted to get one thing out of Jesus, that of their own collective self interests, but he had other ideas.  What do you want to get out of God?  Does your image of God match who he really is?  Have you ever considered whether you 'put God into a box'?  Do you use God only for your needs, when and how you see fit?  This is a good time to really think about your expectations of God verses the reality as the Bible and Jesus himself expresses.  

To find out more about Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the whys, hows, and prophecy fulfilled, click on the links.  You'll learn something about Him, and maybe something about yourself and your expectations of God.

God Bless you, and thanks for reading my blog.   

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