was it a matter of confusion? another disappointment? this king riding into town on nothing more than a donkey.
was this another babe born in a lowly manger scene? unexpected arrival, unseemly entrance - part two.
was there a doubt-filled woman standing in the shade of a Jerusalem tree shaking her head and saying, "this can't be the king."
where was his crown? the royal purple? the army escort? the pomp and circumstance? where in the world was the big to-do?
King Jesus riding into town, like his own mother had some 30 years earlier, on nothing more than a lowly beast. a beast of burden. a last minute market place purchase. humble.
King Jesus riding into town and making people wonder. " when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “who is this?” (matthew 21:10).
who is this? who is this?
and yet they laid down their coats for his coming. they picked up the palms for his cheering. these people who questioned and even some who, i'm sure, doubted, they celebrated the entry of Jesus. like the shepherds and wise men back in bethlehem, they weren't altogether certain. they weren't completely convinced. they didn't have the whole story, and, most likely, it didn't make sense: a babe in a food trough, a king on a donkey. a God on a cross.
it doesn't make sense. and it is sometimes, even now, a matter hard for us to understand. but, it's anything but a disappointment. this humble hosana was the beginning of holy. the beginning of redemption. the beginning of life-everlasting. it just didn't look like they thought it should then. and it just doesn't always look like we think it should now.
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not” (John 1:10-11).
sometimes we don't know what God is up to. He does things in ways we can't always understand. but, really, it is not about our understanding. it's about laying down our coats at his feet, anyway. it's about picking up the palms, anyway. it's about clinging to the cross, anyway. it's even about trusting His heart in hardest of times, anyway.
i'm not saying it is always easy. i fear i'd be that very woman standing under the shade tree shaking her doubt-filled head. i like things to make sense. i like it all to add up. but that's not always what happens when we follow Jesus. or at least it doesn't seem that way from where we stand. it doesn't seem that way in our pain or in our problems or in our punctured kind of living.
but it does add up.
this holy week must not have made one bit of sense to those who followed Jesus. this palm sunday entry into jerusalem was only the beginning of a week which would turn more confusing: black. bleak. dark and death-filled.
the disciples didn't have the whole story, and what they did have seemed muddled and mysterious. some doubted, some denied, some even, betrayed. but then there were those who trusted. scared and uncertain, they didn't know what God was up to, but they threw their coats down under the beast of great burden and they laid themselves down at the feet of their Jesus...and they did what they could: they clung.
and sometimes that's all we can do, isn't it? just lay ourselves down at the feet of Jesus and trust Him. we all have things in our lives we can't understand, things we don't think make sense, things which aren't as they should be. but we lay ourselves down at the foot of the cross, wildly clinging, when our world goes wildly black.
because that's not the end of the story. it wasn't 2000 years ago, and it isn't today. friend, it might, for you, feel like there's nothing holy about this week, about this day, about this morning as you trudge through something hard. and i'm sure "holy" wouldn't have been the disciples first thought as they watched their Lord receive the ugliness of man's spit and whip and hatred.
it may have begun with some wondering, but, the resurrection is coming and it will end in something beyond wonderful.
who is this?
"Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates,And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is this King of glory?The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory." ~ psalm 24:8-10
"rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
and being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!" ~ philippians 2:7-8