The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass’s colt!” His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him.” (John 12:12-19)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Zechariah 9:9–12; Psalm 31; Philippians 2:5–11; John 12:12–19
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2kNMlfU
Finally, we have arrived at Holy Week! It may have seemed like a long Lenten season, but it has been filled with writings from the Gospel of Matthew and, of late, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. We have been enlightened by events in the life of Jesus, as told by Matthew, and pondered the deep meaning of Jesus and the Gospel of God’s gift of grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Now we are ready for the palm procession into Jerusalem and the events to come.
There is much in these seven verses. We hear that a great crowd came out to meet Jesus and welcome him to the holy city. The disciples only understood after Jesus was crucified, risen, and glorified that this was in fulfillment of the Scriptures. The crowds that went out to greet Jesus had been with him along the way, when he called Lazarus forth and restored life to his beloved friend. And we hear how the Pharisees begin to see that they are losing the battle against Jesus—they can do nothing; the world has gone after him!
Sadly, we know that while many have gone after Jesus, it’s not everyone. Certainly, the whole world is not going after Jesus. We wish it were so. We wish all people, everywhere, would come to Jesus and know him and his life, death and resurrection. We wish the whole world would confess Jesus as Lord, that we would enter a new era of love, peace and hope in our day. This is not to be, however. We continue to be disciples and followers of Jesus and we continue to make disciples, baptizing and teaching them all that Jesus has commanded. And yes, we observe Holy Week as a public witness to the world, praying that some may notice and join us for worship on these special days.
We hope that your congregation is bold in getting the news out about services during Holy Week. There are those who are just waiting to be invited to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter services by a friend, family member or neighbor. We want to reach the whole world with the invitation to walk with Jesus to Golgotha and to visit the empty tomb!
Prayer: Father, bring the whole world to Jesus, and use me to share the good news. Amen.
Holy Week Response: Bring your palm branches home from church, to be a reminder all year long.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.