Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Final Days of Jesus – Palm Sunday: Story and Verses Part 1 of 8

Emmaus City Church Holy Week Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities 


"Final Days of Jesus" Reflections | Palm Sunday

Here is a post that provides some introductions, details, verses, and songs related to Holy Week:

Holy Week Will Be Here Soon Worcester, Massachusetts

The Final Days of Jesus Day 1: Palm Sunday

A few years ago, the publishing group Crossway released the book, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived , and produced a thorough collection of beautiful images and thoughtful videos to help reflect on what was going in Jesus' life during this crucial week in history. 

The following posts will feature the manuscripts for each video they produced in correspondence with each day of Holy Week. Enjoy.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

Jesus Predicts His Death

Jesus Visits the Temple

As we think about Holy Week, a lot of times we think about Palm Sunday and we think about Easter Sunday, and everything in between gets a little bit fuzzy. And we lose track of some of the details of what happened in the biblical storyline. 

We decided to ask a number of New Testament scholars if they would help us out and provide some historical, cultural, and theological background for some of the things we might miss as we're reading through the story. We want to take each day of the week and try to answer some of those questions.  

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

So let's start with Sunday, Palm Sunday, the first day of the Jewish week, and the last week of Jesus' earthly life before his death. We call it "Palm Sunday" because a crowd of Jesus' disciples, His followers, along with these Galilean pilgrims in town for the Passover festivities had spread their palm branches and their cloaks on the ground as Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. 

Some of us may know that much of the story, but the details, the setting, the background? 

How many people actually populated the background at that time? How big was it? 

How many people were in town visiting for the festival? 

What were they expecting from the coming Messiah? 

And what made this situation in particular, Jesus' actions, so volatile for the Jewish and the Roman leaders? 

Jerusalem was a very exciting place about this time of the year. Passover is one of the great pilgrimage festivals for the Jewish people and so a city that people estimate might have been around 40,000 would sometimes get to be six times that size at that time of the year as Jews flocked in from everywhere. 

It was a very exciting place, a busy place, a crowded place, and a place that the Romans really worried about during that week. All these Jews were gathering together and they were excited about their religion and the Romans wanted to keep control of that, so they were extra watchful of the Jews during that time.  

Jesus Embodies the Prophecy

The way that Jesus entered the city mounted on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah that the Messianic king would enter the city of Jerusalem exactly in this way, was very significant. It also emulated the way King Solomon entered the city when he was declared king so the message visually and spiritually was unmistakable that here the Messianic king came and entered God's holy city of Jerusalem. 

The crowds responded with excitement because many of them had heard about the Messiah and expected a national deliverer to reestablish the Davidic kingdom. And so Jesus was one who taught with authority, far exceeding their other religious teachers. He was one who healed, who even raised the dead. He very much looked the part of the Messiah. So they welcomed him and prepared the way for him as the Davidic king entering the holy city of Jerusalem. 

Jesus Enhances the Tension

Jesus was entering into a very volatile situation then. He was entering into the city and some of the things that happened that week would have created a lot of concern for both Jews and Romans. Romans, who wanted to keep a lid on things, but also the Jewish authorities who wanted to keep a good reputation with Rome as well. They didn't want to let things get out of hand either because they wanted to keep a good relationship with Rome. And so it was a very pressurized situation for Jesus and his disciples during that week that was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, culminating in Passover.    

Emmaus City Church Holy Week Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities

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