March 21, 2016
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. Zechariah 9:9
Beginning today and for the duration of this week, the devotions will focus on Holy Week, known to be the sacred of all weeks within a year. The writings will focus on our Lord and His involvement which some have labeled as His passion.
To start, we will backtrack for a period to yesterday. Sunday was Palm Sunday. On this day, Jesus had a triumphal entry in Jerusalem. This is recorded in each of the Gospels. As He approached the city, Jesus sent two of His disciples ahead to look for a donkey. A friend of mine notes this time as “Donkey Detail.” He is referring to this event as doing something for their Master with hardly a question asked. We do it most of the time when presented with a chore and complete out of love. As He was riding, people were celebrating His entry by laying down their cloaks and small branches in front of Him and singing:”Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
In preparing this writing, I discovered something interesting. “The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king would ridden a horse when he was bent on war and ridden a donkey to symbolize his arrival in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would have thus symbolized His entry as the Prince of Peace, not a war-waging king.” However, Luke’s Gospel changes the story a bit which is believed by many. In Christ’s approach to the city, he looks at Jerusalem and weeps “foretelling the suffering that awaits the city in the events of the destruction of the Second Temple.”
We now turn to Monday. Jesus returns to Jerusalem after presumably spending the night with Martha, Mary and Lazarus. In making the trip, a fig tree is cursed by the Lord since it had no fruit. It is a belief by some that “this cursing represented God’s judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel.” Others believed “the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine, living faith is more than just outward religiosity. True faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person’s life.”
As Jesus arrived at the Temple, He discovered a scene much to His displeasure. The Temple was not being utilized for its true purpose rather it was full of money changers. The Lord’s temperament became that of anger as He overturned tables producing a quote from Luke stating “My Temple will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
Prayer: Lord, as we celebrate Holy Week, make us increasingly aware of what our Savior did producing an appreciation which we shall never forget. Thanks, be to God, now and forever. Amen.