Summary: Peer pressure - the Psalm Sunday entry - shouts of joy - cries for Crusifiction - Made bigger by peer pressure.
Choosing your lamb - Peer pressure
A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch.
The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?"
"You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today."
The little boy replied, " Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"
We are not quite out of lent but we are getting close. Today we have listened to the scripture that is describes the Triumphal entry. If you were one of the followers of Jesus, it looked like the show was getting on the road. While we know there is still danger in Jerusalem, it looks like it is all going to turn out ok. The crowds like Jesus and are responding with support.
If we do this right we probably won’t get killed.
Jesus has been on the way to Jerusalem for weeks or months, he is not in a hurry and he stops and teaches along the way. He zigzags his way there and arrives just in time.
He arrives on the last possible day to be involved in the full celebration of Passover. The place is packed. The noise of people and animals is deafening. You really can’t see anything except the sea of humanity.
It is like going to Six Flags on discount ticket day. There are so many people it is uncomfortable, everything is expensive.
It seems like everyone is carrying something, food, water, snacks for the kids, bedding, cooking stuff. You name it someone is struggling to get it through the crowd.
Let me remind you, each Jewish man was expected to make three trips to Jerusalem each year. The most important one was for the Passover. It was the day that the people celebrated the salvation from slavery at the hand of God. How the blood of a lamb was used to protect them from God’s vengeance.
Many brought their offering with them. They choose the best lamb and headed of to the festival. The lamb was to be treated as a pet. It was to live with the family.
When the family’s oldest son was old enough he was placed in charge of the lamb. So as the crowds got thick, he had to have it on a leash or to be very safe he probably carried it across his shoulder. The oldest son was made responsible for keeping the offering safe, that was a pretty big responsibility.
City folks they bought their lamb. And on this day that Jesus would enter the city was the deadline. Choose your lamb and live with it for the week.
The general idea is that the lamb would take on your sins and on Friday would be slaughtered and the blood offered for the protection of the family. The keeping of the feast, being faithful to remember God’s past salvation is somehow connected to receiving God’s mercy.
So, Jesus is coming to town for the celebration of this great feast. He books a room outside of town by a few miles.
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ’Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ’The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ "
So, one or two miles out, Jesus stops and sends two disciples, go get a donkey colt. So, let me get this straight, he walks everywhere for months and now that he is within a couple of miles, he needs a ride!
He sends two unnamed followers to get an animal from the edge of the village on a heavy travel day and borrow a ride. Notice he did not tell them to ask first.
Horse/donkey thieving was a big deal back then. He does not send them to get a big impressive stallion or a chariot to ride on.
It is like He is asking these followers, “go to the car dealer and you will find a new 4 wheel drive KIA Convertible that still has the new car sticker on the front window. The key will be in the ignition. If the salesman or security guards ask you a question, tell them that the Lord needs it and will send it back in just a little while.
Are these the disciples that Jesus did not like very much? He has asked them to do some strange things but, this seems a little dangerous for the disciples.