April 6, 2009

Triumphal Entry?

I took this picture last year, and again this year, our kitchen table looks the same, just new palm fronds from church this weekend. I made a wool Jesus to ride the donkey from my Christmas creche along with the Passover sheep, entering Jerusalem that same day.

I found a Palm Sunday tradition that I often do - making a sweet bread in the shape of a chicken with baby chicks under the mother hen, click here for the recipe. It comes from Jesus overlooking Jerusalem and weeping. Jesus wished he could "gather them under my wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings".

I've been sitting with scripture this morning connected with Palm Sunday and a Zechariah passage one of our pastors read at church yesterday. When you read the Triumphal Entry story of Jesus entering Jerusalem in Matthew, a piece from Zechariah 9 is quoted. This entrance was prophesied, but the Jews were not remembering the whole prophecy.

Wouldn't Jesus, if he were going to usurp the existing rule, and reinstate Israel's Monarchy, ride in on a stallion or in a chariot? This is the way a real king would want to enter! Jews have always wanted their own king, and that's their vision for the Messiah.

History books tell of many war horses entering Jerusalem, but none mention a donkey. Jeru-salem, "city of peace", has seen much war.

Zechariah says, "Your king is coming! a good king who makes all things right, a humble king riding a donkey ... I've had it with war ... no more war horses in Jerusalem ... He will offer peace, a peaceful rule worldwide ... And you, because of my blood covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from their hopelessness."

When Jesus began his ministry he read from the scroll of Isaiah saying of Himself, "The Spirit of God is on me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of His grace ..." The Year of Jubilee was to be celebrated, a Leviticus law, every 50 years. Jesus' kingdom is this Jubilee. As Zechariah 9 goes on to say, "From now on people are My swords."

What is our vision of a returning Jesus?
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