Archive for March, 2015

Tell Me the Story (Part One)

March 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart every word. So begins the familiar hymn, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus”. Easter is a wonderful time to read and share the story of Jesus’ love and sacrifice. Palm Sunday falls on March 29 this year. It serves as the first part of the Easter story. It’s important to start there, one week before Easter, because of the incredulous turn of the crowd of the day.

A Praising Crowd

Jerusalem (2012)

Jerusalem (2012)

In Matthew 21, Jesus and his disciples are about to enter Jerusalem. Jesus instructs two disciples to go into a village and fetch a donkey and her colt that they will find tied. If they are asked what they are doing, the disciples are told to answer, “The Lord hath need of them,” and they would be free to remove the animals. All of this was done as Jesus instructed. The donkey was prepared and Jesus, sitting on it, was led into the city of Jerusalem as a king entering the city. After over three years of ministry, Jesus was well known among the people. He had healed the sick, raised the dead, touched the untouchable, and preached with power in the synagogue. He had followers and he also had enemies. I imagine both follower and enemy were present at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem that day. The followers, those who loved him and cheered his entrance, spread their garments and branches from the trees before him as he made his way through the crowd on the donkey. It’s a noisy, frenetic scene of people lining the streets of Jerusalem. People—multitudes—went before him and followed after Jesus crying out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!”

“Who is this?” some asked.

“Jesus, of Nazareth of Galilee,” came the answer.

The account in Matthew 21 gives us a picture of Jesus as temple cleanser and compassionate healer. After Jesus entered Jerusalem he went into the temple and cast out the moneychangers and merchants who were doing business in the house of God. Remember, this was occurring in the temple. But Jesus also healed the blind and the lame who came to him for help and restoration. All of this Jesus had the perfect right to do, but when the chief priest heard about the wonderful things Jesus was doing, they became angry. Were they angered by the praises of the people? About his healing the sick? Or were they angered by Jesus’ stopping business from taking place in God’s house? Jesus had long been pursued and criticized by the chief priests and Pharisees.

The chapter ends by telling us that the chief priests and Pharisees wanted to ‘lay hands on him’ after hearing Jesus’ parables, but they hesitated because the multitude looked to Jesus as a prophet. The chief priests and Pharisees would have to wait until another time, a time when they could arrest him in private, away from the eyes of the people. A few days later, the church leaders take their chance and the people’s praises become chants of “Crucify him!

Categories: Faith, Spirituality