April 14, 2014

Highlights from Holy Week

Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.”

Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)

Prophecy is one of the great evidences for the validity of Scripture. There are more than 300 prophetic predictions in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in Jesus. One of the Minor Prophets predicted the first major event of what we call “Holy Week” today. The week began with Palm Sunday. Zechariah predicted more than 500 years before it would happen that Israel’s King would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey’s colt. The Gospel of Matthew records the triumphal entry of Jesus riding into the city on the colt of a donkey. (Matthew 21:1-5) Jesus demonstrated both His messianic royalty as well as His humility as He entered the city. This verse is one of the few passages where the Gospels record that Jesus’ glory is recognized on earth. The crowds went wild! They shouted “Hosanna”, an exclamation of praise that literally means “saved now!” They had been expecting a Messiah to come and deliver them! The prophets had foretold His coming. Many had seen and heard about Jesus’ miracles, and the expectation had grown to a climax among them that He must be that Messiah. Crowds were gathering in the city at the time in preparation for the annual feast of Passover. Those who had not met Jesus had surely heard about Him and longed to catch a glimpse of Him. As Jesus rode into the city, they shouted quotes from the Psalms, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!” (Mark 11:9-10) The crowd correctly saw Jesus as the fulfillment of these prophecies, but their expectation was in an earthly kingdom, and a Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppression. They didn’t understand that His Kingdom was not of this world. It was a greater, eternal Kingdom. So, when Jesus did not meet their expectation as a political deliverer to establish their kingdom, this same crowd that shouted His praise quickly changed their tune to “crucify Him” less than a week later. Here’s a highlight from Holy Week. Guard against superficial devotion to Jesus. Like those whose hopes were in Jesus to deliver them and gladly shouted His praise, we have expectations of what we think Jesus should do for us. If those expectations aren’t met, how do we respond? Am I following Him or asking Him to follow me? Looking back, aren’t you glad that He came for so much more than a political victory? He came to establish His Kingdom in our hearts and offer us victory that overcomes this world! He rode into Jerusalem, not on a horse prepared for war, but on a beast of burden to bear our burdens and offer us peace! Thank God for such a Savior!