Journey to Easter: Waved Palms to Pierced Palms, Part 1

As we approach Palm Sunday this week and Holy Week next week, my heart is tuned to the vignettes leading up to the most significant event in human history–the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.

What a week. What a Holy Week. Isn’t it amazing that the first half of the Gospel of John covers the first 33 years of Jesus’ life, and the last half covers one week?

Just six days before the Passover and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday, Jesus was invited to attend a dinner in Bethany in His honor, hosted by  Mary, Martha, and their resurrected brother Lazarus. Can you only imagine what a fun party that would be? For Jesus to have supper with Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead,  AND Lazarus’ two cool sisters?

“Then Mary took a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3 NIV.

Of course it was disciple Judas who complained that her gift to Jesus at the party was wasteful and too expensive. Judas was the treasurer and thief-disciple who would betray Jesus in just a few days.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended, that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.” –John 12:7-8 NIV

Jesus was so patient with His disciples, who didn’t understand. Mary got it; she understood perfectly. Jesus had been trying to tell the disciples that He would die and be raised. (John  10:15-18).

Mary gave Jesus the most valuable possession she had. As we prepare for these days leading up to Easter, what valuable possession of yours are you willing to pour out for Jesus and His Kingdom? Whatever we give to Him, He gives much more back to us. The world may think you’re crazy to give so freely to God and His people. It’s Okay. Be encouraged.

People had heard of all of Jesus’ miracles. Crowds followed Him. They were ready to greet Jesus as a celebrity. On that famous Palm Sunday,  Jesus was welcomed like a rockstar into Jerusalem with people waving lush green palm fronds and singing:

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”  (Matthew 21: 9b NIV).

Palm Sunday was and still is a joyful, respectful celebration of  Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus entered Jerusalem not on a military stallion as the world and its paparazzi may have thought, but on a lowly donkey colt, perfect for the humble, servant Savior He was, is and is to come.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Waved Palms to Pierced Palms” next week.

 Reflect:

–With whom can you relate the most in this story–Martha, Mary, Lazarus or Judas?  Please comment.

–What are you willing to sacrifice as a beautiful love offering for Jesus this week and for your whole life?

Renew:

–“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘ Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.'” –Luke 19:39-20 NIV

Recharge:

–How may we live more deeply for Jesus and show love to others?

–How will you embolden your Christian faith, even if you aren’t in a crowd or in the majority?

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