Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Silent Declaration of Jesus

When God announced to Jesus that Jesus was to be the Messiah, the king of Jerusalem, the only ones who heard this announcement was Jesus, John and the spirit world.  No other human knew of God’s announcement, and Jesus did all he could to keep it secret.  Finally, Peter figured it out, and Jesus told them his plans to take over Jerusalem: He would be rejected by the priests, killed and then risen from the dead.  The disciples never understood this part, but they were interested in letting people know that Jesus was the king.  Finally, they got their opportunity at the beginning of Passover week—a Jewish festival.  At the beginning of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, the Jesus began to give Jerusalem hints at God’s call for him.

In ancient societies, if a king or emperor went out to war, and then came back to his city victorious, those in the city would spread their coats in front of him and palm branches, giving him honor as he came into the city.  In the prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures, it says that when the Messiah comes to Jerusalem, that he would come on a colt, and everyone would be proclaiming, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

While staying at Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s house one morning, Jesus approached his disciples and said, “Today we are going to enter Jerusalem.”  He turned to two disciples specifically and said, “In the next village we pass by, you will see a young donkey tied up.  Take that donkey, and there will be someone who asks you what you are doing.  Tell him, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and he will let you take it.”  The disciples did as he said, and someone did approach them and he did let them take the donkey after they had said what Jesus told them to.

            Just outside of Jerusalem, the large group of Jesus’ disciples gathered around him.  Many of them placed their coats on the donkey, and Jesus sat upon the donkey, showing his authority over his disciples.  Then he rode the colt into Jerusalem, and the disciples placed coats and palm leaves onto the road in front of him.  All the while, the disciples were shouting out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” and “Hosanna in the highest!”

           Some of the Pharisees saw all this, and felt that Jesus’ disciples were claiming too much for him. They came to Jesus and told him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”  Jesus turned to them and said, “If these disciples remained silent, the rocks would cry out instead of them.”

            After the victory parade, Jesus and his disciples went directly to the temple area.  Jesus looked closely at all that was happening in the temple—some were offering sacrifices, some were praying, and in the outer court (where the Gentiles and women could worship) some were buying and selling animals for sacrifices and exchanging Roman money for temple money, so visitors could buy the sacrifices.  After looking at all this, Jesus said nothing, but went back to Bethany that night.

            The next day, Jesus and his disciples returned back to Jerusalem.  Jesus went immediately to the temple, and began knocking down the tables in the outer court, where people were exchanging money. Then he gathered some cords of rope and started whipping the places where people were selling animals for sacrifice.  He shouted out, “This is my Father’s house—a place of prayer for the nations!  But you have made it a gathering place for rebels!”  Many people in Jerusalem saw this and were pleased, and they listened to his teaching.

            This action angered many people.  The ruling priests were upset because they arranged for the selling to go on in the temple court.  Others were upset at the implication that Jesus had the right to enter Jerusalem as a victorious king and then to make decisions about how the temple was ruled.  “Who does he think he is?” they said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please no spam, ads or inappropriate language.