After reaching the Mount of Olives on their way to Jerusalem, Jesus instructs two disciples to get a colt and a donkey from a nearby village. They do as they are told, and soon people are gathered as Jesus enters the city. Those in attendance have spread their coats and some tree branches on the ground as an act of homage. But Jesus from Galilee is a different kind of ruler, both in appearance and in manner. Jesus concentrates on his status as servant because it has been foretold that the Messiah will come in humility.
The city is unsettled as Jesus enters, but he is undaunted by those who oppose him. Even though he knows he is journeying toward his death, he comes as the Messiah. In other words, Jesus has a job to do, and he is doing as his Father commanded.
We too are called to follow God’s instructions. Even if we don’t understand why we are being sent to a neighboring village for farm animals, there will be a reason. For Christians, real understanding takes place in the heart and soul. In today’s culture, though, with its emphasis on forging one’s own path and do-your-own-thing mentality, it can be a challenge to take the backseat, to let God drive.
I won’t bore—or depress—you with how many times I’ve taken control when I should have just experienced the ride. Learn from my mistakes, and let God do what God does best.
Help me, O Lord, to follow your lead, even when I don’t understand on an intellectual level. Blessed are those who follow your way. Amen.
The Liturgy of the Palms readings prepare us for Palm Sunday, when Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem in triumph. The psalmist celebrates the one who comes in the name of the Lord, who is celebrated with palm branches. Matthew then tells the story of Jesus, who enters Jerusalem in this way and is greeted with joy, such that the crowds quote Psalm 118. The Liturgy of the Passion points to the end of that week and the coming suffering of Jesus. Isaiah and the psalmist describe being treated with contempt, beaten, and rejected. In reciting the earliest known Christian hymn, Paul in Philippians emphasizes how Christ surrenders his glory and is subjected to humiliation and death. Matthew recounts the passion of the Messiah, who is rejected as the prophets have foretold.
Read Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29. How has God been steadfast in your life? How do you praise God for this continual presence?
Read Matthew 21:1-11. How would you expect a ruler to enter a city? How is Jesus’ entrance the same? How is it different?
Read Isaiah 50:4-9a. What does being a servant of God look like? How does God help you live as a servant?
Read Philippians 2:5-11. Consider the author’s suggestion that Jesus manifests his divinity by being completely obedient to God. How does this change the way you think about the divine image within you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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