Palm Sunday – Passion Week

John 12: 12-47 (NIV)
12: 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.[b]” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you,[c] but you will not always have me.”
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna![d]”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[e]
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”[f]
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[g] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[h]
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”[i]
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

It’s here. The day we looked toward as we may have celebrated Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras and then as we looked at Ash Wednesday and the beginning of our Lenten journey. Today is the beginning of Passion Week or Holy Week.

This begins as we see a wonderful honoring of Jesus as He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey with his followers laying down palm fronds in front of Him. This is His last time to travel through this entry into Jerusalem. We are only four days from Passover (Thursday) and what many name Maundy Thursday.

 

Let yourself be transported back to the time and be a part of this week, the most important week in our walk with the Lord. So in your thoughts, be a part first of this day outside the gates of the city as people gather to watch this Man arrive with His friends/disciples. He is riding on a donkey; but even so, He is being showered with accolades and honor as a king would be. The Pharisees are already worried and, grumbling, and plotting because they know He has become too famous, and they have to get rid of Him .We already started by being a part of that Palm Sunday crowd, shouting our praises to our King, riding triumphantly into the city named after King David, now named Jerusalem!
Be a part of His entourage as He goes about the city, making it the Holy place it was meant to be.
On Thursday, walk up to the Upper Room where He partakes of the Passover meal, blessing the bread and the wine. “Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And “This cup is the new covenant in my blood shed for you and all people for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.” He has just instituted the first sacrament of Holy Communion.
And now watch as He goes to the Garden to pray, and Judas Isacariot betrays him for a few pieces of silver. And so betrayed, he is arrested, tried, beaten, and crucified. This has become evil personified. What a sight to behold as we stand before that cross on Friday. As we consider all these events, we have to wonder what in the world was this whole eventful week about – what was the purpose? Why?
Are you one of the people in the crowd who laid palm fronds down and bowed to Him, only to cheer against Him later in the week, saying, “Crucify Him; Crucify Him!” How many times have we abandoned Jesus, crucified Him by our sinning ways.

.
We don’t always acknowledge that we’re children of God by the things we say, do, or think. We’ll find a bit of Judas in us, willing to betray our Lord for whatever type of silver sin sets in front of us, and we’ll find it’s our sin that condemns Him, to be nailed to the cross. We’re going to find that in reality, while it’s so easy for us to be angry with those who treated our Savior so badly that week in Jerusalem, that if we were there, we wouldn’t be any better. . Think about that.

 

If we think about it, we realize that these awful scenes, horrible sounds of whips slashing skin, and the pain that result from it was not for Him but for us because of our own sins.

 

Here we are on Friday, what we call Good Friday;  and we look at the cross and the path that led Him and us there, we understand that the road He walked and the cross he bore was for you and for me. He did it for us – so our sins could be forgiven, so we can be redeemed and have eternal life. Our sins are taken away by the blood He shed. This is the most important week in our spiritual life. Nothing is more important, more beautiful. This Week, this Holy Time is not only the journey of Jesus, it is our personal journey we take to the cross.

 

This week, I pray that you walk this path, this road to the Cross with our Lord. Reflect on what He has done for you. Read the Passion Story, watch the rest of the History Channel special Sunday evening program, THE BIBLE.  It will focus on Jesus the next two weeks. Join fellow travelers as they, too, walk this path.

 
This is a special week; focus on it as such. This Week will lead you to the Lord. And, understand that all of this, everything that happened this week, was done for you, for the forgiveness of all of your sins, no matter who you are, where you’re from, what race, what culture you are, no matter what you’ve done. Jesus suffered it all. And He did it all for you and for me.

 

Let us pray: Lord, we come to You on bended knee, asking for Your forgiveness and acceptance into Your kingdom. We bless the travels You took and the sacrifice You made for us. Help us stay worthy of Your love. Amen

May God’s riches blessing, our Lord, enrich your life now and always!

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