Monday, August 23, 2010

Live today to Praise God in Highest Heaven

Mark 11:1-10
  1 As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’” 4  The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door.  5 As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”  6 They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it.  7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. 
  8  Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,
     “Praise God!
         Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! 
    10  Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
         Praise God in highest heaven!”

This must have been such an exciting event. We've all been to a football or baseball game where ten thousand to fifty or even ninety thousand screaming crazy fans whoop it up for their favorite team. Sometimes they get really crazy in their happiness. Sometimes, when their team is not doing as they wish, they look really dejected, as if the world was at an end for them. In this scene the long awaited 'Messiah' the Son of God, King of the Universe was coming into town. They expected many things of Messiah and their cries of glee illustrated those expectations. Even in the preparations leading up to the entry-- we call it Christ's Triumphal Entry-- the unexpected was the normal. There was the theretofore  unknown connection between the owner of the donkey and the disciples whom the Lord gave liberty to go and 'borrow' for Him to use. People taking off their cloaks and coverings to lay on the ground along with tree palm fr awns, to minimize the dust raised up by the donkey and the crowd, lets the entering hero have to breathe it. The expectation of the "coming Kingdom of our ancestor David" held high anticipation for every Jew.

Wrongly, they were expecting to turn the tables on all the nations that held them under oppression and, instead, oppress the nations. This shows how little they understood their God and His Messiah. It shows how little they had read from the prophets about the suffering lamb of God and the sacrifice for sin. It shows they were not thinking about God's perspective on humanity but man's.  In other gospels, just after all this hoopla, we read where Jesus, overlooking the city that evening, wept about their failure to embrace who He was and who God is. I often wonder how today's Christian churches would respond if placed in the same setting as that day and the coming of the Lord. Do we embrace our Lord and His call upon us or do we, rather, embrace our religious traditions and personal religious comforts and habits? Do we celebrate Jesus or celebrate music about Jesus? Are we inspired to face each day to do His will or our own? Are we able to discern the difference? Do we share what we have because of Christ within us or do we preserve what we have, distributing it only sparingly to those who have our personal approval?

Will we live this day solely to "Praise God in highest Heaven!?"

Your Servant in our Lord's love

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