CHRIST IS RISEN! HALLELUJAH!

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying.” –Matthew 28: 6

This Good News reverberates around the world today just as joyfully as it was spread from disciple to disciple on that first Easter morning. Matthew captures some of the excitement and awe which characterized this day of days:
 
“When Sabbath was over, just as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary from Magdala and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. At that moment there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven, went forward and rolled back the stone, and took his seat upon it. His appearance was dazzling like lighting and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook with terror at the sight of him and collapsed like dead men. But the angel spoke to the women, “Do not be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here – He is risen, just as He said He would. Come and look at the place where He was lying. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead…” Then the women went away quickly from the tomb, their hearts filled with awe and great joy, and ran to give the news to His disciples. But quite suddenly, Jesus stood before them in their path, and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ And they went forward to meet Him and, clasping His feet, worshipped Him.”Matthew 28:1-9
 
The women came to the tomb expecting to find a cold corpse. Instead they were found by the Living Jesus. Their hearts were filled with sorrowful memories of Him dying in weakness. And Christ delights to surprise them with His resurrection strength and joy. They believed that Jesus had been defeated by Satan and by death. Instead, He showed them that He had conquered both. The husk of His humanity could contain the Divine Son of God no longer. In the grave, God touched Him. He burst through the limitations of His manhood and revealed Himself for Who He was: the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the Victorious One: the Saviour of the world. And so with confidence we testify that our Redeemer lives!

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SOURCE: APPROACHING EASTER: MEDITATION FOR LENT
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6 CHARACTER TRAITS OF JESUS TO EMULATE

Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. – John 7:18

Passion Week (or Holy Week) begins with commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, climaxing with the Last Supper and Passion of Jesus on Good Friday, ending with His sabbath rest in the grave on Holy Saturday. The resurrection of Jesus on eighth day, is celebrated as Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people.

During this passion week, we remember the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and recognize how important it is to emulate His life.

1. JESUS ALWAYS SPEAKS THE TRUTH.

In Matthew 12:34, Jesus called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers”. Jesus speaks the truth without fear of repercussions. He’s concerned with sharing His message, not gaining political support.

Nor is Jesus using hard-hitting truths as a way to rile up anger from people already on His side. Whether or not it’s to His advantage, and even if it means He will lose followers, He speaks the truth. Because the truth — undiluted — is what sets us free.

2. JESUS ASKS FOR MORE AND OFFERS MORE.

While Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30), His plan has a steep joining fee. He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” – Matthew 16:24.

3. JESUS VALUES US MORE.

Why is Jesus willing to tell us to deny ourselves and follow Him? Because He loves us, and that’s what it will take to have a relationship with Him.

Jesus values us so much that He paid our debt of sin with His death. Paul tells us that, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame …”- Hebrews 12:2. The joy of fellowship with us was greater to Him than the pain of the cross.

4. JESUS VALUES ALL OF US.

Jesus does not only spend time with people the world rejects but also goes looking for them. He seeks out the ostracized, poor, sick, weak, and people deemed “worthless”.

The story of Zacchaeus is a beautiful example of this (Luke 19). Zacchaeus is a despised tax collector working for the Roman government, a cheater, and a sinner. Because he’s not tall enough to see over the crowds, Zacchaeus had to climb a tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus. If anyone else noticed Zacchaeus at all, they would have expected Jesus to walk on by.

5. JESUS IS MOTIVATED BY COMPASSION.

We see this clearly right after John the Baptist’s death. Jesus withdraws to a remote area to be alone (Matthew 14:13). So often surrounded by crowds, Jesus wanted to be alone after the death of someone important to him. But the crowds of people heard about where he was going, and rather than giving him some space, they followed him and pressed in around him, eager to have their own needs filled.

When we’re already tired or sad, the last thing we want is to be confronted by other people’s demands, and we often react harshly. But Jesus looked out at the crowds and “had compassion on them and healed their sick(Matthew 14:14). He set His own needs aside to minister to others, not because he had too, but because His compassion made Him want to.

6. JESUS FORGIVES.

True repentance should be met with true forgiveness. That kind of forgiveness sets us free to be the people God created us to be.

In the book of Matthew, we see Peter trying to be generous by asking Jesus if He should forgive someone “up to seven times(Matthew 18:21). Jesus shocks Him by replying that He shouldn’t forgive seven times, but “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). Basically, however much we think we should forgive, we should forgive more.

Jesus doesn’t forgive to “be nice” or because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do, He forgives to set people free. He doesn’t want anything blocking people from living in life in all its fullness (John 10:10).

CONCLUSION

Christians agree that Jesus is the best role model to have. From His faith, perseverance, generosity, and even His intelligence, people see the best qualities that mankind can possess. The Bible teaches us to become more like Jesus each and every day, so it’s helpful to learn about some of character traits He had.

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THE BETRAYAL

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “‘Would you lay down your life for Me?’ replied Jesus, ‘Believe Me, you will disown Me three times before the cock crows.’” –John 13: 38 

During Holy Week, Jesus suffered the pain of rejection, not simply from the religious leaders of the day, nor simply from the crowds who thronged the streets of Jerusalem. Even His own disciples failed to understand His mission and, by their actions, added to His pain. Luke places the spotlight on Judas and shows how he colluded with the enemies of Jesus:

“Now as the feast of unleavened bread, called the Passover, was approaching, fear of the people made the chief priests and scribes try desperately to find a way of getting rid of Jesus. Then a diabolical plan came into the mind of Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. He went and discussed with the chief priests and officers a method of getting Jesus into their hands. They were delighted and arranged to pay him for it. He agreed, and began to look for a suitable opportunity for betrayal when there was no crowd present.”-Luke 22:1-5

It was the ambition of every Jew in the world to be present in Jerusalem at Passover time at least once in his lifetime. Because of this, vast numbers of people flocked to the Holy city for the festival. The atmosphere was always inflammable. The Jewish authorities knew this and determined to arrest Jesus before the feast to avoid a riot. And Judas played right into their hands, offering to lead them to Jesus at an appropriate time and an appropriate place.

But Judas was not the only disciple to fail his Master during the last hours of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus knew that, when He needed his support most, even Peter would turn deserter. He warned Peter of this:

“Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ ‘I am going, replied Jesus, where you cannot follow Me now, though you will follow Me later.’ ‘Lord, why can’t I follow you now?’ said Peter ‘I would lay down my life for You!’ ‘Would you lay down your life for Me?’ replied Jesus, ‘Believe Me, you will disown Me three times before the cock crows.’”-John 13:36-38

SOURCE: APPROACHING EASTER: MEDITATION FOR LENT

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PASSION WEEK

INTRODUCTION

Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. Passion Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday on the back of a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

During this passion week we will talk about some significant things that happened.

JESUS ANNOINTED AT BETHANY

Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus secretly and kill Him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand Him over. – Mark 14:1-11

THE LORD’S SUPPER

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

So He sent two of His disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow Him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

They were saddened, and one by one they said to Him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”

“It is one of the Twelve,” He replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” He said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. – Mark 14:12-26

JESUS PREDICTS PETER’S DENIAL

“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice[e] you yourself will disown me three times.”

But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. – Mark 14:27-31.

GETHSEMANE

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” He said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Once more He went away and prayed the same thing. When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to Him.

Returning the third time, He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” – Mark 14:32-42

JESUS ARRESTED

Just as He was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest Him and lead Him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him. The men seized Jesus and arrested Him. Then one of those standing near drew His sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off His ear.

“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then everyone deserted Him and fled.

A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. – Mark 14:43-52

JESUS BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN

They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against Him, but their statements did not agree.

Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.

Again the high priest asked Him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The high priest tore His clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned Him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at Him; they blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took Him and beat Him. – Mark 14:53-65.

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THE LAST SUPPER

During this Holy Week we will talk about some significant events that took place during Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. We will focus on:
The Last Supper
Judas’ Betrayal
Jesus’ Crucifixion
Jesus’ Resurrection
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Then He took a loaf and after thanking God He broke it and gave it to them with these words, “This is My Body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of Me.” So too He gave them a cup after supper with these words, “This cup is the new agreement made in My own Blood which is shed for you.” – Luke 22 : 19 

Just as, at Christmas time, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, so at Passover time, the Jews celebrate the occasion when God delivered their nation from Egypt where they had been enslaved. The Passover feast was one of the highlights of the year and Jesus longed to share this special meal with His closest friends, His disciples.

The disciples were never to forget this particular occasion, partly because it was to prove to be the last meal they would eat with Jesus before His death and partly because of the things Jesus did on this occasion. John describes one of the surprises Jesus sprung on that particular evening: “Jesus…rose from the supper-table, took off His outer clothes, picked up a towel and fastened it around His waist. Then He poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel around His waist…When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His clothes, He sat down again and spoke to them: ‘Do you realize what I have just done to you? You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ and are quite right, for I am your Teacher and your Lord. But if I your Teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, you must be ready to wash one another’s feet. I have given you this example so that you may do as I have done.”-John 13: 4-15

In washing His friends’ feet, Jesus had performed the most menial task imaginable. His challenge to us is: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Like every host at this particular meal, Jesus took bread and distributed it to His friends. Then took a cup of wine and blessed it. 

“After supper He took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with My blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays Him.” The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.” -Luke 22:20-23 (NLT)


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WE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

For the weeks ahead we will focus on some portions of Romans.Paul writes about how the Christian life should be lived. Especially about the way of love in relations with others. He clearly states the foundations of Christian faith. A journey through Romans will help us keep close to these foundations and we will never be at a loss to know what to believe and how to behave. I will be sharing with you some selected notes from the Life Application Study Bible (NLT). Enjoy!

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.“–Romans 5 : 20-21(NLT) 

As a sinner, separated from God, you see His law from below, as a ladder to be climbed to get to God. Perhaps you have repeatedly tried to climb it, only to fall to the ground every time you have advanced one or two rungs. Or perhaps the sheer height of the ladder seems so overwhelming that you have never even started up.

In either case, what relief you should feel to see Jesus offering with open arms to lift you above the ladder of the law, to take you directly to God! Once Jesus lifts you into God’s presence, you are free to obey—out of love, not necessity, and through God’s power, not your own. You know that if you stumble, you will not fall back to the ground. Instead, you will be caught and held in Christ’s loving arms.


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CHRIST OUR LORD

Dear Reader,

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday but instead of focusing on the usual story of the Triumphal Entry, important though it is, we would like to share with you how the gospel of Luke handles Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and His actions thereafter.

The Triumphal Approach to Jerusalem:  Luke 19:28-40

After Jesus said this, He went on in front of them toward Jerusalem. As He came near Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, He sent two disciples ahead with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you; as you go in, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If someone asks you why you are untying it, tell him that the Master needs it.”  They went on their way and found everything just as Jesus had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying it?”  “The Master needs it,” they answered,and they took the colt to Jesus. Then they threw their cloaks over the animal and helped Jesus get on. As He rode on, people spread their cloaks on the road.  When He came near Jerusalem, at the place where the road went down the Mount of Olives, the large crowd of His disciples began to thank God and praise Him in loud voices for all the great things that they had seen:“God bless the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God!”  Then some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “command your disciples to be quiet!”  Jesus answered, “I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones themselves will start shouting.”  – (Good News)

Let us now continue with why Christ died.  The hymn writer, Henry Francis Lyte (1793 – 1847) puts it so appropriately in one of his hymns.

“PRAISE, my soul, the King of heaven, To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, Who like thee His praise should sing?
Praise Him! Praise Him!  Praise the everlasting King.”  – MHB 12: Stanza 1

And it is true Christ died that we would be delivered from bondage of sin – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Rom. 6:23 (NIV).  Christ died to Ransom us, Heal us, Restore us and Forgive us.

As you enjoy this article, please commit yourself again to the Lord Jesus Christ whom to known is “Eternal Life.”  Let Him ride into the “Jerusalem of your heart.”  Weep over your sins and cleanse your heart which is the temple of the Holy Spirit from all that does not please our Holy, loving God.

WHY CHRIST DIED

When God first created mankind, He intended that an intimate relationship should exist between the Creator and His creatures.  But the first man and woman chose to disobey God and therefore forfeited the privilege of this close friendship with God.  Moreover, through their disobedience, sin made its entry into the world: ‘Sin came into the world through one man.’ – Romans 5:12

This sin gave Satan the firm foothold he had been looking for.  Sin and Satan now held the world in a vice-like grip.  God’s people now walked in darkness: oppressed by Satan.  Spiritually speaking, they lived in a never-ending winter: rarely experiencing the warmth of God’s love.  Enslaved by sin as they were, they were doomed to die both physically and spiritually.  ‘(Adam’s) sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned.’ – Romans 5:12

Who could rescue God’s creation from the curse of Satan, the enemy?  Mankind’s rescuer would need to be someone strong enough to engage in battle against the power of Satan; someone who would fight compromise with evil, for evil cannot combat evil; only goodness can do that.  There was only one person who could even attempt the rescue bid: God Himself.  So God entered the world in the form of the perfect man: Jesus Christ. ‘God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself.’ – 2 Corinthians 5:19

Jesus knew the solution to the sin-problem.  He, the man-who-never-sinned, would need to take upon Himself every sin each individual in the world had ever committed and would ever commit.  It would be as though He Himself had committed the crimes of the cosmos.  He would therefore pay the penalty in person.  He would die:  ‘Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes; a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces He was despised and we took no account of Him.

And yet ours were the sufferings He bore, ours the sorrows He carried.  But we, we thought of Him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low.  Yet He was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins.  On Him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through His wounds we are healed.  We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and Yahweh burdened Him with the sins of all of us.’ – Isaiah 53:2-6

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help me to drink in these facts:

Mine were the sufferings you bore

Mine the sorrows you carried

You were pierced through for my faults

Crushed because of my sin

God laid on you the punishment that brought me

Peace

Joy

And a whole new start in life

Help me to say an adequate

Thank you.

RANSOMED

A man was once caught stealing from his employers.  When the court case was heard, the judge imposed a fine of GH¢50.  Failure to pay the prescribed fine, he said, would result in imprisonment.  The night of the court hearing, the man despaired.  He had no money.  That was why he had resorted to stealing in the first place.  How was he to pay the fine?  The thought of a period in prison filled him with horror.  Next morning, a brown envelope fell through this man’s letter-box.  It contained ten, crisp, new five Ghana Cedis notes and a hand-written explanation: To pay off the debt.  The offender never discovered where the money had come from.  The only information he could glean was that a member of the nearby church heard of his plight and decided to set him free from the threat of imprisonment.

When Jesus died on the cruel cross, He brought our release from the clutches of the evil one.  He also set us free from the bondage to sin in which we had been trapped.  And He delivered us from the effects of the sin-stained past and from the guilt that enshrouded us:  The death of Christ ‘One act of perfect righteousness, presents all men freely acquitted in the sight of God.’  – Romans 5:18. ‘God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, that everyone who has faith in Him may not die but have eternal life.’ – John 3:16

This article has been heavily inspired by Joyce Hugget in “Approaching Easter, Meditations for Lent.”

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For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to the, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.  Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” – Matt. 21:1-3 (NIV)

Evidence of the Supernatural

Jesus informed the disciples that as they entered the village they would find a female donkey securely tied and with her would be a colt, also hitched.  The disciples were to unloose and bring back both animals and that they would be questioned by the animals’ owners – “As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” – Luke 19:33 – (NIV) as to what they were doing and their response was to be, “The Lord has need of them.”  This was not a pre-arranged agreement, rather, it provides a dramatic example of the Lord’s exercise of supernatural knowledge whenever the circumstances demanded.  The owners of these donkeys were obviously disciples of Jesus as they did not hesitate to give the donkeys out.

The Adoring Crowds

As the Saviour rode down the road towards Jerusalem, two groups of people converged upon Him – a massive crowd coming out of the city and another group following Him “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 Lord!”  “Hosanna in the highest!” – Matt. 21:9 (NIV).  These people were mostly those who had been surprised by the effect of the Lord’s miracles, especially the resurrection of Lazarus which was current – “When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen” – Luke 19:37 (NIV).  Some paved the road with their garments and others with palm branches shouting hosanna – a symbol of submission.

Fulfilled Prophecy

Jesus fulfils prophecy in Zechariah 9:9Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!  Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  By His entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus publicly testifies that He is the predicted King and Messiah.

Jesus is not justa conquering King” to fight the oppressive Roman regime.  Rather He rides in to Jerusalem in humility – ready to take up the cross and die to save mankind from the oppressive rule of Satan and conquer sin and death.  Jesus’ humble entry is a deliberate symbolic act to show that His Kingdom is not of this earth and that He did not come to rule the world with force or violence.  His kingdom is spiritual, He is the Prince of Peace.  He did not choose to ride into Jerusalem on a horse – a symbol of war, but on a foal of a donkey – a symbol of peace.

A Moment of Sadness

When Jesus came near to Jerusalem, He looked across the city and wept – “As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it” – Luke 19:41 (NIV).  This is one of the three instances in the New Testament where Christ shed tears.  The Man of Sorrows grieved over the fact that so many of His people had closed their eyes to the truth of His identity and mission – “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” – John 1:11; and that the very peace they sought would be taken from them and, in its place would come their enemies – the Roman armies – actually God’s armies.

A FEW THINGS WORTHY OF NOTE

 Jesus’ Divine Sovereignty 

He asked the disciples to go to the village and untie a donkey and bring it for His use and when questioned to say that the Lord has need of it.  It is noteworthy that:

  • The disciples obeyed and went;
  • They were questioned as Jesus had said, the owner unhesitatingly released   

   the donkey;                 

  • The colt yielded to the Lord’s ride – though no one had ever ridden on it, it was not afraid; 
  • Adoring crowds – They came from everywhere and responded spontaneously.  They recognised the coming King and shouted in praise and adoration – Hosanna – originally meaning save us now but also used to praise;
  • They recognised Jesus as one coming in the name of the Lord;
  • They identified Jesus as the promised heir of the throne of David – salvation would accompany His work;
  • He would be enthroned as King to usher in His Kingdom Luke 1:32-33;
  • Peace would result and God would be glorified.
  • There was strong opposition from the Pharisees. 
  • They wanted Jesus to silence the adoration, praise and joy of the crowds!  But Jesus says that the stones will take up the praise if the people are stopped – when God is doing something no one can thwart Him.

End Piece

All the gospels speak about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry which we call “Palm Sunday,” the day when a whole city threw a parade for Jesus.  As He rode into the city, the people threw palm branches in anticipation of His coming as Messiah as we read in Zech. 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!  Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” – (NIV).  The day marked the celebration of Jesus being worshipped and praised.  But barely a week later, the same crowd that shouted “Hosanna,” “Hosanna” were loud with their “Crucify Him,” “Crucify Him.” 

Many of them were following Jesus as part of the crowd and did not really know Him. 

What about you?  Hosanna means “Save Us.”  Do you want Jesus to save you from sin, Satan and death?  Or you are just following the crowd?  Think about it!   

Stay Blessed!