Your Place in the Kingdom

As Jesus entered Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday, everyone in the region realized from that moment on there was no turning back. Either His perfect love would win or the sinful nature of people & power would prevail.  Salvation’s freedom was at stake! Would people’s shriveled hearts betray Jesus to the worldly authorities for crucifixion or would Jesus’ tender heart be tough enough to transform them? The week unfolded in a way that both would happen. By Jesus’ saving response to the dramatic tension during those days,   we can know today the unending power of Jesus.

Mark 11:1-11

 1Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent ltwo of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, mon which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it.If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many nspread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, o“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is qthe coming rkingdom of sour fatherrDavid! oHosanna tin the highest!” 11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Two historical messages were given when Jesus prophetically rode  a colt into Jerusalem and the crowd laid palm branches  before him. The palm branches signified an act of revolution that marked their shekels in remembrance of the successful Macabean revolt of a 100 plus years earlier. The colt signified that the Messiah had arrived to claim His throne. The crowd thought Jesus, as the new King, would usher in His Kingdom with militaristic might and reign with political clout. Instead, Jesus was ushered in His Kingdom in such a way that He would reign with heavenly power for earthly application.

People were being called out by Jesus to claim their heavenly birthright of living godly lives on earth. Instead, the world was trying to get Jesus to become worldly   so that their earthly ways would be justified in heaven.  Jesus would have none of it.  Because it would have forfeited His capacity to save us. And Christ loves us too much to not be whom we really need for Him to be, “Savior and Lord of our lives.”

As the crowd of thousands shouted “hosanna”, they were offering a cheerished prayer, “God, save us.” Jesus received and answered their prayer  in such a way that they would not immediately understand. Maybe God is responding to your prayers with such uniqueness that it is taking you awhile to figure out what He is up to. As Jesus had told Zachaeus a few days earlier, “the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” And the day before Palm Sunday, Jesus had tried to prepare them with His words, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

The crowd also praised Jesus by reciting the Psalms, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Connected to “blessing” is God’s  power for us to receive His blessings so that we ourselves can become His blessing for others. The crowd would have remembered that Jesus began each Beattitude with “blessed”. Like “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

Connected to the meaning of “name” is our God given privilege to live under the authority of Christ’s name. For instance, Christ commissioned us to pray in His name but by doing so we are committed to only pray for that which further fulfills the mission of Jesus in our lives. When Pontius Pilate ordered Jesus’ crucifixion, he also ordered for Jesus’ name to be placed above the cross on which He would die. And so today, we remember Paul’s prayer “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.” And  Jesus also told us to baptize in in the unified fullness of God’s presence, “in name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

On this Palm Sunday we celebrate the living mission & presence of Jesus. The celebration begins by our genuinely praying “hosanna”, knowing that God alone can save us. The celebration continues by our laying before Him our “palm branches” of spiritual revolution. The celebration progresses by our becoming a “blessing” for others. The celebration crescendos by our living “in the name of Jesus.”