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Lenten Reflections Project 2022

Sunday | April 10 | Tanya Pitre

John 12:12-19

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey's colt!”

His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

On this Palm Sunday, I imagine myself entering the scene of Jesus’ triumphal entry.  As I read it over, I notice the four types of onlookers and immediately wonder which group I would have resonated with had I been present in 1st century Jerusalem; and with which set of onlookers do I resonate now.

Many were present at Jesus’ triumphal entry:
  • There was a crowd that had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, and they continued to bear witness.
  • There was a crowd who had come because “they had heard that [Jesus] had done this sign”.
  • There were the disciples who did not understand Jesus’ triumphal entry at first, nor the prophecy from Zechariah 9:9. It was not until Jesus ascended into heaven that they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
  • And, lastly, there were the Pharisees who came mockingly, with sarcasm in their voices as they saw it all wrong.

As I watched Jesus ride forth as a humble servant on a donkey, would I be tempted toward mocking unbelief or would I taste and see the Truth before me?

As I imagine myself looking at Jesus riding forth, would I look past this unlikely king and be attached to his heart?  Would my spirit within me be stirred toward His spirit, drawn to His words, compelled by His compassion, mesmerized by His miracles? Would I have resurrected eyes to look at such an unexpected Messiah and choose to lay down palm branches and, crying out, sing, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”?

Imagine yourself there at the scene of the Triumphal Entry and consider which group of onlookers you might have joined.  And as you do, be honest with where you are and use the prayer from Mark 9:24 as you turn to Christ, “I believe; help my unbelief.”

As you use this passage to gaze upon Jesus as the misunderstood Messiah, the suffering Servant, and our glorified God, and ask Him to help you this Holy Week to turn your affection and praise unto Him as you lay down the palm branches of your life in worship.

*Tanya Pitre