Message from the Minister Letter 38 – Sunday 28th March

Dear all,

I hope and pray this letter finds you safe and well.  This week as Lent starts to end and we head into Holy Week we arrive at Palm Sunday.  We are back in Mark’s gospel for his account of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  The reading is taken from Mark 11: 1 -1 11.  I have been trying to think of an equivalent event which we would have witnessed in our lifetime and my mind keeps being drawn to the image of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family attending either Trooping the Colour or some other kind of national event.  The image is one of crowds thronging both sides of The Mall waving flags and cheering as members of the Royal Family pass by.  Now this is not quite the same and probably less rehearsed. 

The reading begins with Jesus and the disciples approaching Jerusalem and Jesus asking two of the disciples to go and collect the colt and bring it to Him.  Notice how specific the instructions are and how Jesus already knows that the animal has never been ridden.  If any query arises then tell the person that the Lord needs it, and it will be brought back soon.  It is remarkable that everything is just as Jesus told them it would be, and they do exactly as they are instructed to do. 

When they return to Jesus, they throw their cloaks over it and Jesus mounts the colt.  People then start to line the route in front of them throwing their cloaks down on the road whilst others spread branches they have cut down.  For a person to lay down their cloak would have been very generous as they were valuable garments and ones which would have been used regularly.  To lay it down in the dirt and dust for a colt to walk over would have been a sign of the high esteem that Jesus was held in.  The atmosphere would have been one of celebration and rejoicing and people shout “Hosanna” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”   Can you imagine the scene, the jubilation and excitement as people believe Jesus is going to come and conquer?  In one sense He is but probably not in the way they imagine. 

Jesus enters Jerusalem and the temple courts, looks around but as it is late, He goes back to Bethany with the disciples.  The event has overtones of the start of Mark’s gospel when John the Baptist is proclaiming the Good News and quoting from Isaiah the prophet: ‘prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him’ and now this is being fulfilled with Jesus and the very steps that He is taking.  This also links to Malachi when he predicts: ‘then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple.’ (3.1).  This exciting event heralds the beginning of Holy Week, such a joyful occasion which is going to give way to such sadness but then end in the greatest triumph of all history.  How can we comprehend such truth?  I encourage you to read through the passage again and ponder such things as you contemplate the events which are to come.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour.   

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Triumphant King, bless us now and always,

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