Summary: This Communion Meditation for the 6th Sunday in Lent, year B, is designed to encourage believers to follow the commandments of Jesus, especially the commandment to receive Holy Communion.
[Background information about the Scripture:]
I think the way we waved palm fronds and celebrated today was wonderful! Palm Sunday is the beginning of a very important week. This is the week known as the “passion week” or “Holy Week.” It is the time when we focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How important is the death and resurrection of Christ? One way to answer that is to look at the Bible. The events concerning His death and resurrection occurred over essentially one week. Matthew is 28 chapters long—the last 8 chapters are about this week. Mark has 16 chapters—6 chapters are about this week. Luke is 24 chapters long and 6 of those 24 are about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel of John has 10 of his 21 chapters dedicated to the death and resurrection of Jesus. There are 89 chapters in the 4 Gospels combined; 30 tell about the death and resurrection. Thirty of eighty-nine! That means that approximately one third of the Gospels focus on one week of Jesus’ life. The last days of Jesus’ life, crucifixion, death, and resurrection are so critical to our faith that the Holy Spirit had Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John write more about it than any other part of Jesus’ ministry.
The verses that I will read in a moment are the ones that begin telling us about the week that ended with the death and resurrection. There is a lesson in these verses for each of us today, so let us pay attention to the direction of the Holy Spirit as hear the Word of God.
Scripture: Mark 11:1-11 (NKJV)
1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”
4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”
6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“ Hosanna! ‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
This is the Word of God for the people of God.
[Topic: “The People who shouted “Hosanna!” with reference to v. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.]
My good friend Steve told me about going to the doctor some years ago for a physical examination. The doctor asked him a series of questions about his exercise and eating habits. One of the questions was, “how much fruit do you eat.” Steve said that he told the doctor about how much he loves apples. He turned to me and said, “Leon, you know I’ve loved apples ever since we were boys.” But, he said, the doctor interrupted him, looked him in the eye, and said, “I didn’t ask if you liked fruit, I asked if you ate it.” Steve had to confess that he rarely go around to eating any fruit, even the apples he likes so much.
To some extent the people in the crowd were like Steve. They loved the idea of a Messiah, but they didn’t understand the mission of Christ well enough to following him. They wanted Jesus to ride into Jerusalem and overthrow the Romans. They didn’t understand the concept of the suffering savior. Mark tells us that the crowds followed Jesus up to Jerusalem, but they didn’t quite go into Jerusalem with Jesus. Look at the Scripture: in the first part of v. 1 we read, “Now when they drew near Jerusalem…” Then, after crowds stopped cheering, we read in v. 11, “And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple…” The people in the crowd shouted “Hosanna,” but there only excitement and no depth.