When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
True and humble King,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.
The tension that has been building throughout Lent as Jesus turns towards Jerusalem and begins to talk about what will happen is suddenly released on Palm Sunday. Everything that had been looking so black suddenly becomes a celebration. The crowds are cheering, the donkey plods onward smiles, and shouts of Hosanna are everywhere.
Perhaps the disciples at this point thought that it was all going to turn out well, perhaps they thought that there could be a good outcome, perhaps they thought that the warnings Jesus had given were only a worst-case scenario?
What of Jesus? He knew! How does he face it? In the words of the hymn, ‘but cheerful he to suffering goes.’ What is that about? How can there be cheerfulness?
I think that for Jesus there is a sense of affirmation, that life has a value, that life is worthwhile, that life is good, that joy, wherever you find it, should be celebrated and valued.
An affirmation that this was part of his journey to the cross and to the will of God. An affirmation that this is part of the way to the Father.
I have seen people approaching death with great courage, with hope, with peace in their hearts, with trust in the future. And even with joy.
May God be with each of us throughout life’s journey.
My best wishes,
Don’t forget Easter Sunday worship in church
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