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image of the cross in the sunlight

-photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/profile/raichinger

Christians everywhere are recognizing the holiest week in the calendar this week.

This time, for us, is more crucial, more deeply moving, than Christmas, because through this week, we live out Jesus’s last days on earth as a mortal man, as God’s loving and faithful sacrifice. Through His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection, we, God’s creation, become reunited with Him through Jesus. For all who believe, eternity is guaranteed, and the abundance of living in the loving arms of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is ours simply for the asking.

On Palm Sunday we begin the journey.

On the day Jesus rode triumphantly on a donkey in to Jerusalem, the people came out to greet him with joy. They cried out “Hosanna”, which means literally, “to save.” The word appears in Latin as osanna, in Greek as hosanna, in Hebrew as hoshana, and in Aramaic as hosiana.

“Hosanna” is a cry of worship and praise, and a plea for God to “save, pray.”

They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

   “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]

   “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 21:7-11 (NIV)

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When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

   “Hosanna!

   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

   “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Mark 11:7-10 (NIV) 

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They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

   “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

          Luke 19:35-38 (NIV)

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The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

   “Hosanna!

   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

   “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

John 12:12-13 (NIV)

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Each of the gospels then follows Jesus in the city after this glorious entry of the Son of God and man, surrounded by the crowds who had seen His miracles firsthand. They had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead, and had continued to follow along with Jesus as He went on toward Jerusalem.

The Pharisees, the leaders of the Jewish courts, were stunned by the following Jesus had accumulated.

 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him.19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

John 12:17-19

We can understand how elated Jesus must have been, telling the Jewish leaders who had doubted Him and attempted continually to trick our Lord into a corner with logic. The call out to Him, telling Him to rebuke His followers for blaspheming by calling Him the Son of God and their King.

Jesus, I would imagine, smiles at them as He tells them that it would be useless to quiet the crowd; the Lord’s victory ride into the city of Jerusalem was foretold hundreds of years prior (Zechariah 9:9), and even if the crowds were silent, even the rocks themselves, the creation of God, would cry out.

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

   40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Luke 19:39-40

Jesus is not without foreknowledge, however of God’s plan. As He passes the ebullient crowd on the road and draws nearer to Jerusalem, He weeps. He weeps for God’s people, for the sorrows of them in the age to come, and for the Jewish leaders’ inability to believe God’s fidelity to them.

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said,“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Luke 19:41-45

Jesus so loved God’s chosen people, that it grieved Him to think of the events that would follow during Holy Week in Jerusalem.

Sunday: Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, and is hailed by the crowds there as King, Savior, Son of David.

Monday: Jesus teaches daily in the Temple, and the leaders of the people begin to plan how to kill Him.

Tuesday: Jesus announces that He must be executed. He offers the Greatest Commandment. He debates with religious leaders. Judas plots with the leaders to betray Jesus.

Wednesday: Jesus warns the people against the religious leaders in the city. He grieves again over the coming destruction of Jerusalem.

Thursday: The Last Supper. Jesus waits and prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is arrested in the middle of the night.

Friday: Jesus is taken to Annas, then to Caiaphas. Peter denies Him three times. He is taken before the Sanhedrin, the highest court of Jerusalem, where it is decided that the Romans should be petitioned to execute Him. Pilate, Herod, question Him, but His fate has been sealed by God.

Jesus is crucified, dies, and is buried.

Sunday: He lives again!!!

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