It’s just a week before Easter Sunday. I love everything about this time of year, and I truly love that we celebrate Easter during the time of year that everything is beginning to have new life. I feel more motivated and energized this time of year than at any other.
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King (Matthew 21)
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday. I can remember on Palm Sunday, when I was little, that the kids always got to wave palm branches in church. It was a little thing, but we made a huge deal out of it. On cue, the choir would march into the church, and I would wave my palm until my arm was tired. As I got a little older, I couldn’t help thinking past Palm Sunday to what was to come for Jesus. I had a hard time understanding how we could make such a deal of Palm Sunday when in just a few days, the Lord would be put through so much pain and suffering. How could we ignore that which was to come and have so much fun waving our palms as if we didn’t know?
But the day that Jesus traveled into the city of Jerusalem was truly remarkable. Not everyone, and I wonder if truly anyone, knew just what they were doing by the waving of those palms. Did they really know that the King was coming? Did they fully comprehend just who He really was? Maybe some. Maybe a precious few, but I’m suspicious that most were just caught up in the fanfare and had no real idea who was to come riding into town on the back of that borrowed donkey.
More than two thousand years later we wait for Jesus to, once again, ride into the city. It will be different this time, though. This time, He will not come humbly. He will not ride in on a borrowed donkey. This time, He will come in strength and power. This time, He will ride in to take His proper place. This time, the return of the King will be final.
His return will be forever, and this time, all at one time, the whole world will know. This time, every knee will bow. This time, every mouth will profess that He is Lord. It will be a day like none other in the history of mankind. The God who made us, will once again walk among us. Frankly, it’s a bit hard to comprehend. It’s not anything that my once palm waving little self could possibly understand. I can hardly wrap my grown up mind around it.
What I can wrap my mind around is the fact that I believe that day is coming soon. Am I preparing well for that day? Am I living as if I truly believe that day is imminent? Honestly, most days I am not. I don’t live my days with the anticipation of seeing my King. Why am I not straining, leaning in, to try and see His approach?
Not so much. I can easily become distracted by political campaigns, the latest fashion, or whatever funny video is making the rounds on social media. I’m not proud of that, but the fact is, I can be distracted. I want to live my life in anticipation of the return of the King. I want to live as though I truly believe I will soon see Him face to face.
Holy week is a great time to refocus. It’s a good time to put things back in right order in our hearts and minds. We remember the days leading to the crucifixion. We think on the great and horrible sacrifice He made to redeem us. And next Sunday, we rejoice that death was laid low and new life is now available to all who call upon His name, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! It’s a great time to prepare for the return of the King.