Riverside Community Church

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Easter Reflections – Palm Sunday

Today’s Passage:

Luke 19:29-44 (click to read)

Click on the 3 horizontal segments of the above image for extra contextual information.

Reflection

Thoughts from the passage

Picture the scene. A crowd of people joyfully celebrating as Jesus rides by. Children running along beside the donkey. Others in the area hearing the commotion and rushing to see what is happening, then joining the shout, recorded by Matthew, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (which is a reference to the Messiah). There is great excitement, enthusiasm and joy.

But in the midst of this Jesus stops as He comes in sight of the city and begins to weep with heart-wrenching sorrow.  The majority of the nation, regardless of what they were saying at this moment, would not truly accept Jesus as their Saviour and Messiah, and Jesus grieved deeply, foretelling Jerusalem’s destruction, that would occur within a matter of decades. This was a day of great celebration but also of great sorrow.

Reflect

Palm Sunday is a day to celebrate.  To celebrate that God sent His Son as our Messiah to save the world from sin.  To remember with joy and gratitude the day our eyes were opened to see Jesus for who He truly is, and we acknowledged our need for a Saviour. 

But today is also a day to pray for friends and family members who do not yet know Jesus.  Do we feel deep sorrow for those who are lost, and does that grief move us to persevering prayer, and to sharing our faith? 

D.L. Moody wrote a list in his Bible of 100 friends who didn’t know Jesus.  He prayed daily for them until he died.  Over the course of his life 96 of those friends became believers.  The last 4 gave their lives to God at Moody’s funeral.  Never give up praying for those who don’t yet know Jesus.

Response

Remember the day you turned to Jesus. (For some, that may even be today). Reflect on the details surrounding that encounter when you first committed your life to Him. Take a moment to acknowledge again that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah sent by the Father, and thank Him for saving you.

Jesus said to Paul on the Damascus road, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:17b-18). Jesus wants to use you to help turn people from darkness to light.  Whom is God laying on your heart to commit to pray for? Write their names in your journal or Bible and pray for them now.

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Jerusalem Population
Josephus tells us that in the first century about 256 500 lambs were slaughtered at each Passover.  One lamb was slaughtered per family, so the population in Jerusalem swelled significantly during Passover, some estimate as high as 3 million people.  Celebrating Passover meant that hopes for redemption were high as the Jews remembered God saving Israel from a foreign power, and looked forward to the fulfillment of the prophecies regarding the Messiah.

Blessed Is He Who Comes

At Passover Psalms 113-118 were quoted as part of the celebrations, proclaiming God’s salvation and the coming Messiah.  Psalm 118:25-29 was also chanted to welcome the pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the festival.  Those in Jerusalem quoted the first phrase (text in red) and the pilgrims entering responded with the second phrase (blue).  They concluded by saying verse 29 and Psalm 103:18 in unison (green).

Lord save us!  Lord grant us success!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God and He has made His light shine on us.  With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.  You are my God and I will praise You; You are my God and I will exalt You.  Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever, with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.

Donkey

The colt had never been ridden.  How do unbroken animals normally react if someone climbs on their back?  And yet miraculously, this young colt calmly consented to being ridden by its Creator.

Cloaks & Branches

People would honour kings by throwing their cloaks down where kings would sit or walk.  Branches were used for Jewish celebrations, most commonly associated with the Feast of Tabernacles.