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New Pathways

April 6, 2020

Matthew 21:1-11 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Matthew 21:8-9 NRSV

The triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, was recorded in all four Gospels. Amazingly, the accounts are nearly identical. Jesus is certainly on a new path, and everyone around him knew it and proclaimed it, just as many congregations do on Palm Sunday at the end of Lent each year. Jesus got to this point through a long journey, arriving on the outskirts of Jerusalem from Galilee. He knew what lay ahead for him: betrayal, arrest, torture, an unjust trial, and a cruel death by crucifixion. Jesus had been telling his disciples, and many others, about all of this for nearly all of the previous nineteen chapters in the Gospel of Matthew. And, he understood that he would suffer just as we would, because Jesus is both fully human and fully divine.

Jesus recognized his sense of call. He was devoted to completing this journey of witness and ministry. But, many in the crowd perceived him as a political figure, a royal king crowned by God, while others considered him the Messiah promised in scripture. Regardless, Jesus had come to Jerusalem with purpose and passion.

Scholars feel that the crowd was hoping that Jesus would turn right, away from the city gate and into the praesidium, the Roman provincial seat and fortress, and perform a mighty act to overthrow and disarm the hated Romans. Those Zealots in the crowd wanted an act of war and an act of God to go with it! But, when Jesus turned into the city and went immediately to the temple mount, the crowd that wanted a big event, a political upheaval, or a confrontation with the authorities must have been disappointed. In the Gospel of Mark, all the people suddenly disappear, leaving Jesus and his disciples alone.

What path are we on today in this last week of preparation before Easter? Do we recognize God’s claim on our lives, our actions, our decisions- our living? In a time of crisis and isolation, are we engaged with God in prayer or meditation or personal worship? Like Jesus on the donkey in the procession, you and I are not alone. Christ came for each one of us. Christ remains before us, continually calling the church he created. And, God abides with us continually through the Holy Spirit.

Take a look at your path and know that God is with you- every step of the way.

Stan Reid


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