“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord”


  Palm Sunday (April 1): Gospel Reading:  or John 12:12-16  [See Passion Narrative & Meditation for Mark 14:1-15:47]

1 And when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Beth’phage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 2 and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat;  untie it and bring it. 3 If any one 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 the door out in the open street; and they untied it. 5 And those who stood 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 garments on it; and he sat upon it. 8 And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!”

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7

4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary.  Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear  to hear as those who are taught. 5 The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward. 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;  I hid not my face  from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded;  therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

Meditation: Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your home and heart? Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited him – betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. The people of Jerusalem, however, were ready to hail him as their Messianic King! Little did they know what it would cost this king to usher in his kingdom. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem astride a colt was a direct fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah (9:9): Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem. Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass. The colt was a sign of peace. Jesus enters Jerusalem in meekness and humility, as the Messianic King who offers victory and peace to his people. That victory and peace would be secured in the cross and resurrection which would soon take place at the time of Passover.

Augustine, the great 5th century church father, comments on the significance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem:

“The master of humility is Christ who humbled himself and became obedient even to death, even the death of the cross. Thus he does not lose his divinity when he teaches us humility…What great thing was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity? For Christ was not the king of Israel so that he might exact a tax or equip an army with weaponry and visibly vanquish an enemy. He was the king of Israel in that he rules minds, in that he gives counsel for eternity, in that he leads into the kingdom of heaven for those who believe, hope, and love. It is a condescension, not an advancement for one who is the Son of God, equal to the Father, the Word through whom all things were made, to become king of Israel.  It is an indication of pity, not an increase in power.” [Tractates on John 51.3-4]

Psalm 24 is another prophetic passage which echoes this triumphal procession of the King of glory: Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in. Jesus Christ came to bring us the kingdom of God. He is the true King who offers peace, joy, and everlasting life for those who accept his kingship. Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your heart and home? Do your walls echo with the praise of his glory?

“Lord Jesus, be the King and Ruler of my heart, mind, life, and home. May my life reflect your meekness and humility that you may be honored as the King of glory!”

Psalm 24:3-10

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. [Selah]
7 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! [Selah]

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