Headlines from Christianity Today On-Line for Tuesday, March 27, 2018
The Palms, the Temple, and the Nations
What made Jesus explode in the Temple on Monday is actually related to his Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday.
(Below are excerpts from an article by Esau McCaulley. The entire article can be found at http://www.christianitytoday.com.)
The black Baptists of the South are not known for their adherence to a liturgical calendar, but we do know Palm Sunday and Easter. Palm Sunday is the tremor before the earthquake of our resurrection celebration, the birth pangs. Palm Sunday, then, is not the time for the best songs, suits, or dresses. The palms and shouts of hosanna are a preparation for something greater, the acclamation that Christ is risen.
But as the Palm Sundays have stacked one upon the other, more questions linger. What did Jesus want to teach us when he entered Jerusalem astride a donkey to the shouts of hosanna? Did he do it so that we would have a nice liturgical action of palm-waving to entertain the kids on the verge of Eastertide?
Immediately following Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem amid waving palm branches, Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that his next stop is to clear out the Temple. What does the clearing of the Temple have to do with palms and the parade from earlier? Last and most importantly, what do these two events have to say to us as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in churches divided by race and class?
The Temple and palms do speak with a common voice. They reveal God’s vision for peace between the ethnicities and our reconciliation under the universal kingship of Jesus. To hear that common voice, we must pay close attention to the Scriptures that Jesus uses to interpret his actions on that fateful on the first two days of Holy Week.
Jesus’ choice of Zechariah 9:9–10, then, says that his coming means God’s plan of bringing blessing to the nations will occur in and through his reign. This reign will be known for peace between Jews and Gentiles and blessings for all. Palm Sunday isn’t just about humility; it also about the expansive kingdom of the Son.
Therefore, we remember Palm Sunday rightly when we remember that God has called the divided peoples of the earth (black, white, Latino, Asian) to peace and reconciliation. This is not anachronism. This is the application of the good news in Christ to the reality of life in our day. We must long to be reconciled to our brother or we miss a crucial aspect of what Palm Sunday teaches.
Readings from the Gospel of John for Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Jesus challenged the people who received his provision of food with these words, saying: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal” (John 6.27).
May I ask the readers of my blog to spend a few minutes thinking about the kind of culturally encouraged activity that ultimately perishes? What sort of activity can we do today to spend most of our energy seeking the best life possible, the life that can only be described as “eternal”?
Prayers for Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Dear God, please help us to imitate the values and actions of your beloved Son.