In Isolation Thoughts 2

Hymn: Ride on, ride on in majesty

Bible Reading: Luke 19. 29-48

The Pre-Victory Parade

Palm Sunday celebrates the crowning of a king. The public acclamation of a new allegiance. Yet this occurred before the event that would change the history of the world, an event which would be worthy of recognition of the supreme leader and unchallenged victor in the battle over sin. Paul, writing to the Philippian church says that the victor is worthy of the highest place of honour. A place where everyone would bow in recognition of the victory. Here in the Gospels, we have the rehearsal, the practice event and it is seen that the outcome was the same as would happen at the final event of this world’s history. Christ would be seen and acknowledged as the triumphant one, the saviour and the sacrifice.

I am sure we all know the various records in the Gospels of this event, so I want to look at it perhaps in a different way to usual. Well it was an unusual event, how often did one ride in triumph into Jerusalem to the acclaim of the people?

There are three phrases I want us to consider in this passage from Luke.

The Needy Lord

The Crying Stones

The House of Prayer

The Needy Lord was the answer to any objection to the disciples taking the colt or donkey from the village square. Note the words given were that the Lord needs, not the Lord wants. There is a world of difference between a need and a want! When we say we want something, it is a desire to have something that will enhance our situation, think of all the things to which you might say, ‘I want!’ I want a sunny day, I want a new…, I want to win…, etc., all these are things that would bring us pleasure but, we cannot say they are essential to our continued life. Now think about a ‘need’, this is seen in a different context altogether, it is something that is essential to our situation. If you are ill, you need treatment, if you are lost, you need guidance, if you are hungry, you need food, etc., these are all requests for an essential response to allow an outcome, it is not just a fanciful request or it would be nice to have, it is a necessary requirement. So the Lord needed the animal, it was an essential element in the events that would follow. But why was it essential, would continuing on the road with joyful disciples not arouse a response from the people? It might have done so, but then again it might not. There must be another reason that made this action totally necessary. Look in the OT, Zechariah 9, here is the reason for the need. The prophecy had to be completed, there are four elements to it:

  • The rider would be their KING
  • The TRANSPORT would be lowly, a donkey
  • His victory speech would be about PEACE
  • His KINGDOM would be the entire world

Here is the answer to why the Lord needed the donkey, it was essential to the fulfilment of this OT prophecy. It was an event the people were looking forward to happening, without it the whole prophecy would fall apart.

The second phrase was the Crying Stones. This was an admonishment to the objectors who did not want this event to happen, well not with Jesus at its centre. He didn’t fit in with their plans of the Messiah, they had reduced the concept to a purely earthly issue, it no longer involved God, they wanted a ruler who would get rid of the detestable Roman Occupiers, they wanted to rule themselves, and Jesus did not fit their plan. This had been clear since He had begun His ministry, they didn’t like what He said and taught, it always seemed to put them in a bad light. Jesus was a danger to their authority. So these chanting people had to be stopped, they told them to be quiet, calm down! Jesus gave a response that just showed how serious was the support that He had, they were told that if the people were silenced, the rocks at the side of the road would cry out in praise and recognition of the King. The chants they wanted to stop were:

  • Blessed is the Lord’s King,
  • Peace from highest heaven
  • Glory to God

These did not fit their plan, they might have accepted the last two, but certainly not proclaiming Jesus as King. Think of their objection to Pilate’s notice on the cross, Pilate wrote, ‘King of the Jews’ and he was quite right, but they wanted, “He alleged to be the King of the Jews.’ Jesus said that God had the power to enable, even the stones on the road, to cry out with this acclamation of His position and authority.

The third phrase was The House of Prayer, the Temple was the place of authority for the Jewish leaders. It was where they held sway, the Romans kept well away from it for fear of rebellion. Here they made their money, it had become the marketplace and the deals were not very honest. This was the final straw, they had to get rid of Jesus. He was a threat to their very livelihoods. The Temple had become a source of income and not worship. They knew that when Solomon dedicated the Temple back in history, it was filled with the Glory of God, the Shekinah Glory, it was a holy place, the holiest place and a centre for worship of God for all people. That Temple had been destroyed at the time of exile, it had been rebuilt by Nehemiah, then Herod had built a Temple, it did not have the splendour or the presence of the original building. Its use had been compromised, they still came to worship, but it was a shallow worship, and often at a high price. Jesus declared that they had desecrated it to being a den for thieves, the worship had almost nothing to do with worship of God. He told them what it should be, a place where the people could commune with God, freely and uninhibited, a place of direct communication, of holiness and peace. He knew that what was ahead for Him, would complete the transformation of the relationship that God wanted from His people.

All this intensified their plot to kill Jesus, they had to hold back for now because the people had responded and proclaimed Him King. They would have their way in the end, in just a few days, Jesus would be removed.

How do these words apply to us today, can we only look back at these events, glad that there is a record of them? How is the NEEDY LORD asking today? He needs people to follow Him, to accept Him as King and Saviour. It is really the opposite; we are NEEDY, and we NEED the Lord! Do the CRYING STONES put us to shame? Are we silent in the proclamation of the King, the Lord’s Saviour? Does the world and its clamour make us feel that our cry is so feeble that we shouldn’t bother with it. We should be the CRYING People for the Lord, He is God’s King, He is the proclaimer of peace for the hearts of all people, and He will reign supreme, all will bow in recognition, one day. CRY out that the day is coming. Finally, there is the HOUSE of PRAYER, a place where we can communicate with Almighty God, it doesn’t have to be a building, we can pray anywhere and in any situation. Actually, we need to become HOUSES of PRAYER, communication with God in worship and praise all the time. We are a NEEDY, CRYING, PRAYING people. Palm Sunday set an example for all of us.

Prayer

 

 

 


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