Welcome to Holy Week.
I was reminded at a City-church worship and prayer meeting last night that as busy as we are prepping to serve the community with the Easter Egg hunt, and as non-traditional as we pride ourselves on being, we more often than not fail to remind each other of the amazing things that happened to Jesus and for us on this final week preceding His death and resurrection.
To avoid that mistake and to help us focus on the rich blessings Jesus brought and is bringing us this week, here are some thoughts for you to ponder and be grateful for:
We welcome this Holy Week of Celebration
Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at the beginning of the week leading up to His arrest and crucifixion. It was a moment of great celebration and community joy…for most.
Unfortunately, the religious community was offended and threatened by the public display of Jesus’ popularity. They were exasperated by the common people’s love for Him and awe of Him. Frankly, the whole thing drove them over the edge in their plotting to destroy and silence Him.
How did Jesus see this beginning of the end?
For His part, Jesus accepted the adulation of the welcoming crowd and took advantage of the opportunity to declare the kingdom; but, He was unfazed as to His determined reason for entering the city and the divine appointment with His destiny. Unrecognized by most, He knew He was entering Jerusalem amid all the fanfare as the Lamb slain to bring to an end the power of sin and death over Adam’s wayward children.
Prophecy had foretold this humble appearing of the King and His joyous reception.
“Rejoice greatly, daughters of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech 9:9)
The “Hosannas” of the celebrating crowd were drawn from their songbook of praise, Psalm 118 verse 26. It reads, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”. The people’s joy was real. Jesus received it as the honor it was. But, I’m sure He was conscious of the rest of this prophetic psalm. The rest of verse 26 through 27 reveals the irony of this day that obviously went beyond the perception of almost everyone around Jesus and in Jerusalem. These verses read as follows:
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; we have blessed you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and He has given us light…”
More than just a few prophesies fulfilled that day
The celebration that day upon Jesus’ entrance into the city bore out the prophetic truth of these word. The sons and daughters of Zion did resoundingly bless Jesus from the house of the Lord. Also, without doubt, God had sent and given a great light to the nation and the people (Read John 1:4). But, the profound foretold truth of that day and the days to follow was not finished yet. Verse 27 continues with a prophetic hint that realistically could only have been fully recognized by Jesus in fellowship with His Father in the Spirit:
“…bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.” (Psalm 118:26-27)
It was not just on that night a week hence, freshly betrayed and arrested in the garden, that Jesus fulfilled another very specific prophesy of going as a lamb to slaughter. (Isaiah 53:7) It was here, on the road of celebration to Jerusalem and through it’s wide open and welcoming gates that the King of Glory entered humbly, silently, and ultimately as a lamb to slaughter.
Looking fully from our vantage point
People of God; son’s and daughters of the New Covenant. It is right for us to kick off this holy week with a celebration of our victorious King. I encourage you to celebrate with worship and prayers of thanksgiving in your homes, with your family, and with friends. But as you do, without tempering your “Hosannahs”, keep in mind that Jesus knew—and did not turn away—from His appointment with the horns of the altar that were to be crudely, roughly, but effectively represented by those two rough hewn beams of the cross—the cross of His death and our redemption.
So, as we face this holy week, I declare to you:
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed are we who live in the light of His coming;
Blessing and honor and glory be to the Lamb slain.
Have a wonderful, holy week,