Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy Week: The Week That Changed History

Praises by the crowds filled the air as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Just as Mary rode a donkey into Bethlehem before He was born, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on one before death, fulfilling prophecy.

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey”     Zechariah 9:9

Jesus was greeted as a King, with people spreading their coats and palm leaves on the path. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” they shouted.

We celebrate this day, calling it Palm Sunday, in memory of the palm leaves they used. Today, the children usually make a processional, waving palm leaves joyously.   A week later, we celebrate Easter, the day our Savior was resurrected. But in between, the days changed the course of history. Jesus continued to teach as He was hassled by the religious leaders.  He was even betrayed.

And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.  So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.   Luke 22:2-6

As they observed a Passover meal, Jesus told of a new covenant, and of the sacrifice they couldn’t understand. He gave us the Lord’s Supper and reminded us to love others. We commemorate this on Maundy Thursday.  Afterwards, Jesus models true willingness to follow God’s will as He prayed in the Garden. Unfortunately, scriptures also tell us of the betrayals, false accusations, and the mockery of a trial that followed.

But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  So Peter went out and wept bitterly.    Luke 22: 60-62

But all of these things had to happen. The same crowds that praised Him earlier, shouted cries of “Crucify Him!” a short time later.

Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.  But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!”   Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”   Luke 23:20-22

The week began with cries of, “Hosanna!” but they turned on Him and the week ended in despair, without a hint of what was to come on the third day.  It makes us wonder, “Do we praise God one day, then do things that disappoint him, or even betray Him, the next?”

from my book, '"Living What We Believe"   (reading for day 35)

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