Preparing our hearts, minds, and souls to hear and reflect upon the Word of God.
Prayer of focus
Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards humanity, has sent Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all humanity should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
There are two verses that I would like to use to establish the framework for reflecting upon Palm Sunday. From Matthew 21:1-11 verse 10b: “Who is this?” The last part of the narrative of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the city all “stirred up” has the whole city asking “Who is this?” The answer from the crowds: “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” In this verse the crowd following Jesus answers the question of the city. Who is this individual who enters Jerusalem riding on a humble colt accompanied by its mother so that, it would not panic in the crowded streets of Jerusalem. As Jesus enters the city, the city is “all shook up”. Shook up with anticipation … expectation of the potential change riding on the young beast of burden. He who rides brings with him hope. Hope that comes when there is a change in leadership … or regime change. I am confident, people throughout the region had heard of Jesus’ ministry of hope in his preaching, teaching, and healing over the past three years. As a reader or hearer of the Gospel of Matthew you would recognize who Jesus is by what you have heard and read. You would know who Jesus is by reputation. Now you know him by sight.
As I read and listen to the city’s question and the crowd’s response, I recall Matthew 16:13-20 where Peter answers Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” From Peter’s individual confession to the crowd’s confess there is a shift from one’s individual confession of the identity of Jesus to a communal identification of Jesus. Please note that Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Christ. The one who fulfills the prophecy – Immanuel (Matthew 1:23). Now the crowds identify Jesus, as the prophet, referring back to Matthew 2:23 where the hearer and reader of Matthew is reminded that the prophets fore told of the Messiah who would be despised (Psalm 22:6; Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 53:3; Daniel 9:26). The crowd’s answer is a recognition of the fulfillment of the prophets. Because regime change is upon the city therefore, there is a threat to ruling authorities in Jerusalem, both religious and secular. Trouble is brewing …
Trouble brewing in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in royal style. Well, not totally he arrives as a humble servant King. Who is this Jesus? “… Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” This is not the verse to focus on. It is the identifier of Jesus. What I want us to focus upon is the beginning of this familiar passage: “have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus …” (Philippians 2:5). You and I are called to have the same mind of Christ Jesus. What is that mind? The mind we are to have is the same as Immanuel, God in the flesh, to be a servant and humbling oneself to the point of death. We are called as followers of Jesus to have the same mind. How does this mind reveal itself in our hearing, speaking, thinking, and feeling?
This is our journey this year during Holy Week. From Palm Sunday to our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ we journey in the likeness of Christ this week. Join me on this journey as our faith, belief, and lives in Christ will be deepened.
See you online on Sunday. God bless!