Shared March 26th, 2015
So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” John 12:13.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday and it marks the start of what we talked about in our last exhortation: Passion Week. Passion week is the final seven days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In other words Palm Sunday was the “beginning of the end” of Jesus’ work on earth. It also represents the celebration of Jesus’ return to the city of Jerusalem. Read More
Look at how Palm Sunday began, with Jesus and His disciples traveling over the Mount of Olives and the Lord sending two of His disciples ahead into the village of Bethphage to look for a donkey, not a horse, that He was going to ride. Just as Jesus had said they would (Luke 19:29-30) the disciples indeed found the unbroken colt of a donkey. Again, just as Jesus had said the owners of the beasts of burden “accosted” the disciples, asking them questions when they started to untie the colt. Thereafter, they brought the donkey to Jesus.
Then Jesus set His face towards Jerusalem, ascending with a large multitude gathering around Him. Matthew 21:8 says that “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road”. The crowd’s display of worship and adoration along that dirt and un-tarred road spawned the name “Palm Sunday.” Yes, the crowd gave Jesus the real “red carpet,” throwing their clothes and palm fronds on the road for Him to walk on. It was the ultimate royal treatment and you can imagine how bitter satan and his cronies were, beholding such a sight. Read More
Now that event, coupled with the upcoming celebrations in Jerusalem enabled families to come together to celebrate. Fast forward to today and let us look at the Middle East, the place where it all started. Even though the Middle East has long been associated with muslims, it had and to some extent still has a wealth of Christianity and its traditions. I say “to some extent” because with the dwindling numbers and with the renewed attacks on Christians all over the region, some Christians are under pressure, increasingly feeling marginalized.
Look at this: in Syria a while back, two bishops were kidnapped in Aleppo, not to mention the mass kidnapping of over 100 Christians in that same country. As well in Egypt, there are frequent and often violent attacks on Coptic Christians despite the “protection” promised by their president. In fact on the Palm Sunday holiday in 2013, the coptic pope in Egypt, Pope Tawadros II, warned that many are considering emigrating after months of attacks. And it has been happening. Did I mention Iraq and the new cancer that is ravaging the Christian minority? You would agree that under sadam, it appears they had some safe harbour. And what about the killing of Christians in Libya?
Palm Sunday! Beloved, let this be a different Palm Sunday for you. They say that there is more persecution today of Christians than there has ever been in the history of the world. They say that believers are being killed at a rate much greater than that, which was seen in pagan Rome. And it is happening, in a subtle way, right where you live, whether Canada, the United States, Britain or in a far-flung country somewhere in the Scandinavians. Read More
It is Palm Sunday this Sunday. Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem and He needed a donkey. And the owner gave it to Him. Now, remember this, that a donkey was a very big deal during that time. Let me put it this way that the donkey was tantamount to, the equivalent of a sedan, a truck, a lawn mower, and a tractor all in one. It was used to “cut” (read chew) grass and in cultivating the land. In deed people used it to move things around, to move around, even to do their shopping, to carry a heavy load. And in addition when Jesus sent His disciples, this was a donkey that had never ever been ridden, which therefore means that it was brand new, straight from the dealership and had a very high market value. So, giving up the donkey because the Lord had need of it meant that the owner was making a very big sacrifice. The owner was being selfless; thus it was a generous and a wonderful act of faith on the part of its owner.
So here’s my question, “What is your gift? The Lord has need of it.” Read More
Proposed prayer: Dear Father, while men resort to war, I know that my recourse is You. Help me to respond as quickly and as generously because You have called, and You call for my gifts, talents and treasure. Help to use these to make a difference, in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. Read More