Lord Jesus, I lay garments of adoration before You. I sing hosannas and hail You Lord of my life.
Read Matthew 21:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you” (Psa. 118:26).
The atmosphere in Jerusalem was tense. The Passover crowds were there. The Roman presence had been strengthened. Pilate had temporarily moved in from his usual residence in Caesarea. The last thing the city needed was messianic claimants riding into town; but that is what they got, although not in quite the way most anticipated. For those with eyes to see, the message was clear. Matthew, writing from a later perspective, had no doubt (4,5): this fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy (Zech. 9:9). Zechariah had also spoken of the Lord coming to fight for Israel and standing on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). So the excitement of this crowd is understandable. It was probably a group traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem; in contrast, the crowd that later cried for crucifixion was probably local.
That some elements in the crowd, at least, saw this in messianic terms is confirmed by their use of Psalm 118. They longed for deliverance, for God to do a new thing. Exactly what they had in mind is less clear. They seem to be thinking of political freedom achieved through a display of power. Jesus sees his rule in terms of humility and service. Deliverance, as he knows but they do not, will be found not in military victory but in death on a cross.
It is, then, a strange paradox that the church, which claims to follow Jesus, has sometimes been more interested in power than service, in honor than humility and in status than sacrifice. We need to review the nature of our calling and the way that we work it out in practice. It still runs counter to the prevailing world view. We are called to show a different way and to help the world to rethink its ideas of power and influence.
Pray for Christians in positions of leadership in church and society, that they may use their power wisely and have a true sense of serving others.
Father, forgive me if I’m overly concerned with power, honor, and status. Give me opportunities to serve rather than be served.
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