Carolyn’s Online Magazine (COMe)
A DISCIPLE’S POINT OF VIEW
The Rev. Monte W. Holland, guest writer
Palm Sunday occurs exactly one week before Easter. Thus, it is subject to the same change of date each year as is Easter.
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. The day has many traditions, which vary according to Christian denomination and world location. You can read about them from many sources, including a recent article on COMe, Palm Sunday Traditions in Lithuania
As I pondered about Palm Sunday I began to wonder: What was going on in the disciple’s life and his psyche during the time of the Palm Sunday procession, and time in the temple? Thus, I decided to share the Palm Sunday story by writing Biblically from the point of view of a disciple.
Hear the words from the Gospel (in this case Matthew 21:1-17— also in Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19), Jesus Enters Jerusalem:
- When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead.
“Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt,” Jesus said to the disciples. “Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. If anyone asks why you are doing this, just say, ‘The Lord needs them.’ He will at once let you have the donkeys.”
- The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do.
“You know, John, I wasn’t so sure about this request of Jesus,” James said, “but that the owner acted just as Jesus predicted. It’s unbelievable.”
“It’s amazing,” John agreed. “It was like he expected someone to appear and ask for his donkey.”
- They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.
- Thus, God’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said,
- “Announce to the people of Jerusalem: ‘Your king is coming to you! He is humble and rides on a donkey. He comes on the colt of a donkey.’”
“I have heard those words before. Wasn’t it the prophet, Zechariah, who said ‘Everyone in Jerusalem, celebrate and shout! Your king has won a victory, and he is coming to you. He is humble and rides on a donkey; he comes on the colt of a donkey?’”
“Isaiah also said, ‘People of Jerusalem, open your gates! Repair the road to the city and clear it of stones; raise a banner to help the nations find their way.’” John said, “Isaiah said the Lord wanted all the earth to hear that he would come soon to save the city of Zion and to reward us.”
“Didn’t he also say the Lord will reward us, and we will be called, ‘The [Lord]’s Own People, The Ones He Rescued!’ Your city will be known as a good place to live and a city full of people,’” Peter said.
“Could Jesus really be our rescuer?” Peter asked.
- Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches which they had cut from trees.
- Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting, “Hooray for the Son of David! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hooray for God in heaven above!”
- When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?”
- The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
“Can you believe all the people lining the streets?” Peter asked in amazement.
“It’s difficult to even imagine that in midst of our current Roman rule so many people are cheering for someone entering town on a donkey,” Thomas stated.
“I’ve seen fewer people cheering the ruler arriving on a white horse,” remarked John.
“These people seem to believe the words of the prophets,” James said.
“What does this mean in our lives?” Peter wondered. “Will the people crown our Jesus as a king in competition with the Roman rule?”
Jesus in the Temple
- Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. – He told them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My house should be called a place of worship.’ But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.”
“What’s happening?” James asked, looking at the other disciples who also had astonished expressions as they watched Jesus’ confrontational reaction to the temple authorities.
“Is this the appropriate first act of the ruler the people have just acclaimed?” Philip asked.
- Blind and lame people came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David. The men said to Jesus, “Don’t you hear what those children are saying?”
- “Yes, I do!” Jesus answered. “Don’t you know that the Scriptures say, ‘Children and infants will sing praises’?” Then Jesus left the city and went out to the village of Bethany, where he spent the night.
That night the disciples talked among themselves about everything that had happened.
“We left Judea a long time ago because the priests wanted to kill Jesus,” James said.
“That’s right. They thought it was blasphemous to be announcing the forgiveness of sinners and healing on the Sabbath,” Peter said.
“It may not be the Sabbath today, but these healings open the old wounds, and the hatred of the priests is clearly visible,” James continued. “After all, we are on their turf.”
“When the priests heard the praises of the children they thought of the praises that would echo when the Messiah arrived,” Andrew said.
“But Jesus was no Messiah in their eyes,” noted James.
“I’ve been wondering lately,” said Thomas. “Many things puzzle me.”
“Like what?” Peter asked.
“Who is this man who seems to be the one named in the prophets? We have seen his miracles and healings. He has given us such authentic teaching. He has offered hope to the poor and outcasts. And yet he has troubled us with words he said in Galilee—‘The Son of Man will be handed over to the people who will kill him. But three days later he will rise to life.’”
“It sounds like he expects to be put to death for his actions,” Peter responded, unable to believe the message. “What will this next week hold for us?”
NOTE: Below are links to the Rethink Church Lenten photo challenge: a list of 40 words for which to supply a photograph—I did this a week at a time instead of daily. (For those of you who might have tried the links on the posts, they were done wrong, and have been corrected…)