My people, What have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!
I led you out of Egypt; but you led your Savior to the Cross.
For forty years I led you safely through the desert,
I fed you with manna from heaven,
and brought you to the land of plenty; But you led your Savior to the Cross.
O, My people! What have I done to you that you should testify against me?
Holy God. Holy God. Holy Mighty One. Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.
Doug Wilson summarizes well that the crowd that received Jesus is not the same crowd that cried out “Crucify him:”
There are many things that can be drawn out of this story, but this morning, we are just going to focus on one of them. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem—where He was to be lifted up and draw all men to Himself—He was greeted by multitudes. Contrary to the popular assumption that the Triumphal Entry crowd and the “crucify Him” crowd were the same people, we have no reason for identifying them. These people who greeted Him were doing so sincerely. Jesus was approaching Jerusalem in order to save multitudes, and He was greeted there by multitudes. Their central cry was Hosanna, which means “Save, we pray.” In other words, we are praying that You would save us. “Yes,” He answered.
We celebrate today the coming of the King into Jerusalem. I think if Hollywood were to put Palm Sunday into a movie they probably would have Jesus coming in a military tank surrounded by an army ready to declare war. But Hollywood has never read Zechariah. Jesus is King, but Jesus is a king in a far different way than all other kings are kings. As king, He comes endowed with salvation, humble, mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey. As king, He conquers by offering Himself for His people. And if we want to share His conquest, we must go and go likewise.
The way of kingship is cross before crown; suffering before glory. Jesus turns everything upside down: his coming was filled with nuanced symbolic meaning. His arrival was true to the Hebrew Scriptures, but it was true in a way that they did not expect. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that one way Christ executes his office of king is by ruling and defending us. The Jews wanted to be ruled and defended, but they did not want to be ruled and defended in the way Christ wanted to rule and defend. Sometimes we want a king, but we want him to function the way we think best. Palm Sunday is the announcement that Christ’s kingship is expressed in a unique way; in a way that puzzles the crowd, but still in a way that gives them hope. May this hope be ours today.
Prayer: Almighty God, on this day, your son Jesus Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem and was proclaimed King by those who spread garments and palm branches along his way. Let those branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our Lord, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life. In his name we pray. Amen.
“The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
Adam’s acceptance of Eve’s role reverses his rejection of his wife earlier. He chose to restore community with his wife, rather than pursue the game of blame. The pain endured by all the women in the Old Covenant came to an end in the last Eve of the Old Covenant, Mary. Eve, then, is the mother of all living. She is the mother of life and from that life, Jesus, life is given to all those united to him.
This morning it is the Supper that restores community. The meal Adam and Eve shared at the Tree of Knowledge destroyed their community, even though it had the outward marks of community. The meal we share with Jesus restores all true community in the bond of the Spirit. This meal is an affirmation that the Seed of the Woman is our life.
My friend Doug Jones–with whom I have disagreements, etc.–nails it on his assessment of Pilgrim’s Progress. I have never loved the book, but I understand that it is an evangelical obsession. Here’s Jones’ critique of the book in two paragraphs:
Certainly one of the most misleading classics of the modern period was Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Its influence seeped deep into Protestant culture, so deep that recovery from it will take centuries. The book’s message wasn’t new in itself. It gathered all the worst emphases of the Reformation in one place and soaked our consciousness thoroughly.
Pilgrim’s Progress presents a deeply selfish vision of salvation. It pretends to be about self-denial all while forcing a radical self-focus. Selfish salvation assumes that each Christian stars as the main character in the gospel story. Selfish salvation believes that the gospel is primarily about getting individuals into heaven and that self-interest is the primary motivation that gets us there. Selfish salvation focuses on an individual’s struggle with personal sins over and above the community.
- Dismissing Jesus, chapter 9 (back)
James Jordan’s fascinating essay entitled Food and Faith speaks about the hunger that God places in man after the fall. Man was fully satisfied in the garden. He found satisfaction in the gifts of Yahweh. As Jordan writes, “Repeatedly throughout the Bible, especially in the wilderness wanderings, God made His people hungry so that they would cry to Him as the only source of life. ” God is the food of weary man. God is our food. Only as we eat his body and drink his blood do we find fulfillment and our hunger is satisfied.
Lent rebuilds marriages, as we commune with the Perfect Husband who gave Himself wholly for His Bride. – Peter Leithart
We are considering this season how we can begin to re-orient our attention to the Crucified Lord. There is a brokenness that takes place at Genesis 3; a relational brokenness. And this is why seasons like these help us to re-focus on that brokenness and find a rationale to re-energize our loyalty to Jesus our Lord.
Lent helps us to see ourselves as God sees us: marred by sin, but justified in Christ. And in this recognition we begin to grasp that our personal and corporate relationship with our Lord is always in need of refining, and Christ is committed to refining us.
Christ is the perfect husband and the more we commune with him the more we understand his ways and his desires for us.
Christ is not a despotic husband. He serves and serves and loves and loves and he dies for our sake; to show us that no greater love exists than that of a Lord who gives Himself wholly for His Bride.