Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Today’s text

Matthew 21:7-11

They brought the donkey and the colt, then they laid their cloaks on their backs and he took his seat on them. Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens! And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil as people asked, 'Who is this?' and the crowds answered, 'This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.'


The Romans came to Jerusalem on horses. Jesus came on a colt and a donkey. The people trembled at the sight of centurions marching up the mountain into the city. But when Jesus approached they cut branches and waved them in welcome.

The Romans came always to overwhelm by sheer force. Jesus bore no weapons, and the crowds hailed him as a savior.

I wonder what they wanted to be saved from. Roman subjugation? The humiliation of being an occupied nation, doubly taxed by local and foreign leaders?

Did they really see Jesus as a conqueror, a new king like David, the warrior king, who led the nation at the apex of its power and influence 1000 years before?

Perhaps some did. But Jesus entry into the city is not a portrait of physical power or military force. He sits a low on a humble beast, near enough to touch, not high above them.

He is among them, coming in the name of the Lord, seeking not to subjugate or to make war but to bring a new community, a new kingdom marked by the justice and compassion of God.

I doubt those who benefited from the present political arrangement went out to welcome him. But those who hungered for the vision that filled his being, his words and healing went out. They went out with hope.

I think they hailed him because of what they experienced as they heard him. His words made their earth-bound hearts take wing and soar. They went out because they had experienced salvation already working in their souls when they were in his presence.

They went out, waved branches and hailed him because they felt the presence of God in him, freeing them to know the dignity of being a human being made in the divine image.

They went out because they saw he was totally surrendered, completely given over to the mission of God to bring mercy and justice to their broken world and healing to their wounded selves. They saw: His eyes were fixed on the vision of a new world that they felt already present when they were with him.

I suppose that’s why we go out to.

Pr. David L. Miller