Summary: The Passion Week was not Jesus vs the Jewish religious leaders, or Jesus vs Rome...it was Jesus vs the Temple. A different perspective on a text we look at every year. Two kingdoms approach Jerusalem from two opposite directions at the same time with t
Jesus VS The Temple
Palm Sunday (2012)
Chronological Bible 10/23 pg. 1410
Mark 11:1–3 (NLT)
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry
As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’ ”
It amazes me how God uses our small things for big purposes. I wonder how this man felt when we saw Jesus riding his donkey in His Messianic Procession into Jerusalem with all the people praising God? One thing is for sure—this man was not selfish. His story of selfless giving in the Bible is told right along side Rehab’s rope, Paul’s bucket, David’s sling, Samson’s jawbone, Moses’ staff, Bethlehem’s manger, a Roman cross, and a rich man’s empty tomb (before and after Jesus entered it).
Sometimes I get the impression that God wants me to give Him something and sometimes I don’t give it because I don’t know for sure, and then I feel bad because I’ve missed my chance. Other times I know he wants something but I don’t give it because I’m too selfish. And other times, too few times, I hear him and I obey him and feel honored that a gift of mine would be used to carry Jesus into another place. And still other times I wonder if my little deeds today will make a difference in the long haul. But when we get right down to it…the donkey belongs to Jesus.
The most important gift we give others is the gift of Jesus.
A nineteenth-century Sunday school teacher who led a Boston shoe clerk to Christ never could have realized how far reaching his gift would be. The teacher’s name is one very few have heard of: Kimball. The name of the shoe clerk he converted you have: Dwight Moody. Moody became an evangelist and had a major influence on a young preacher named Frederick B. Meyer. Meyer began to preach on college campuses and while doing so, he converted J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman became involved in the YMCA and arranged for a former baseball player named Billy Sunday to come to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a revival. A group of Charlotte community leaders were so enthusiastic afterward that they planned another campaign and brought Mordecai Hamm to town to preach. In that revival a young man named Billy Graham yielded his life to Christ.
Did the Boston school teacher have any idea what would become of his conversation with the shoe salesman? No, he, like the owner of the donkey, had a chance to help Jesus journey into another heart, so he did. (And the Angels were Silent; Lucado. Pg. 56)
Two processions, or parades were coming from two different directions into the city of Jerusalem on this spring day in 30 A.D. When I say two different directions, I’m speaking of two different directions literally, figuratively, and spiritually. These two processions polarize each other in just about every aspect.
One is the imperial procession of Rome demonstrating its power, authority, and sovereignty—with Rome’s representative Pontius Pilate at the head of a column of a military cavalry of soldiers. Here Pontius Pilate is flexing the military, and political muscles of Rome. The other is the humble procession of the Kingdom of God demonstrating its presence in a world dominated by force, and its message of peace and meekness.
The presence of Pilate in Jerusalem during the Passover Feast was common knowledge for the First Century Jews. Pilate had to be in Jerusalem with such a swell of highly religious, and highly emotionally charged Jews in and near Jerusalem for the Passover Week. We must realize that the Passover festival celebrated the Jewish people’s liberation from an earlier empire.
Jesus came in from the east, down the Mount of Olives traveling from Galilee, which was about a hundred miles to the north. Pilate came into Jerusalem from the west as he traveled from Caesarea Maritima, “Caesarea of the Sea,” which was sixty miles to the west of Jerusalem.
“The Last Week” (Borg; Crossan) Imagine the imperial procession’s arrival in the city. A visual panoply of imperial power: cavalry on horses, foot soldiers, leather armor, helmets, weapons, banners, golden eagles mounted on poles, sun glinting on metal and gold. Sounds: the marching of feet, the creaking of leather, the clinking of bridles, and beating of drums. The swirling of dust. The eyes of the silent onlookers, some curious, some awed, some resentful.