Devotions for Luke 19:29-44–Triumphal Entry
April 3-9, 2017
Monday, April 3, 2017–Triumphal Entry
“He sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find there a colt …” (Luke 19:29).
The tension was mounting as Jesus drew closer to Jerusalem. Jesus’ popularity with the crowd was increasing. Many hoped that he was the long awaited Messiah. At the same, time the religious authorities were becoming more wary of Jesus. Not only did they dislike what he taught, they feared that his growing popularity might cause political unrest. The closer Jesus came to Jerusalem the greater the opposing forces grew in strength. Conflict was inevitable.
In the middle of the building tempest was Jesus—a non-anxious presence. He calmly sent two disciples to a nearby village in order to procure a ride for his entrance into Jerusalem. Though he knew what lay ahead, Jesus proceeded forward with intentionality. The crowd was not in control and neither were the religious authorities. Everything was in the Father’s hands. The events were playing out as planned. Jesus drew courage from this truth, to face the cross and the compassion to forgive.
Events spiral out of control in our lives. Such times can be frightening. Yet, we confess that God is present with us and our faith allows us to experience both peace and courage as we face what lies ahead.
We confess, Lord, that we are not in control. You are. Believing this, give us the courage to step forward in faith and follow wherever you lead us. Amen.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017–Triumphal Entry
“After throwing their cloaks on the colt, they sat Jesus on it” (Luke 19:35).
Several things were happening when Jesus mounted the colt. First it was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 “Lo, your king comes to you;/ triumphant and victorious is he,/ humble and riding on a donkey,/ on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Secondly, it was the antithesis of what kings did. Kings didn’t ride into a conquered city on a young horse or donkey. There wasn’t any display of power in that. Rather, they were mounted on mighty steeds. Jesus’ choice of transportation was a declaration that his kingdom was very different from any kingdom that the crowds were used to. Finally, the colt was a subtle display of Jesus’ power. Colts need to be “saddle broke” in order to be ridden. The colt did not kick or buck when Jesus sat on it, but obediently carried its rider into the city.
Though we may want Jesus to enter into the situations of our lives mounted on a mighty steed and giving evidence of his power, he usually doesn’t. Most of the time, Jesus enters our struggles and trials quietly, without fanfare—almost without notice. His power is exercised in subtle ways. Still, Jesus’ presence and power bring us courage and hope. They transform the situations and bring life out of death.
Lord, enter our lives on your colt and let your kingdom reign. Amen.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017–Triumphal Entry
“As he rode along, people kept spreading cloaks on the road” (Luke 19:36).
The project was completed and off to a successful start. Team members gathered after work for a celebratory meal where they identified and showed their appreciation for each team member’s contribution to the project. Words of thanks and praise were generously shared. Megan wanted to show her appreciation for all the work and extra time her teacher spent in helping her pass her chemistry class. To express her thanks, Megan gave her teacher a Thank You card with a Starbucks gift card inside.
Many of the Passover pilgrims greeted Jesus at the city gate. Their long awaited Messiah was coming to them. They spread their cloaks on the road in front of him. It was there way of paying homage and giving honor to Jesus. Though we may not have physical cloaks to lay before Jesus, we still can worship him and express our thanks and praise. Before Jesus, we can throw down our coats of financial resources and our robes of talents and passions. Jesus the Messiah, our Lord and Master, is entering our lives to give us abundant life and true freedom.
Welcome Lord. We offer ourselves to you as you come to establish your kingdom. Amen.
Thursday, April 6, 2017–Triumphal Entry
“The whole multitude of disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice” (Luke 19:37).
No one knows the size of the throng of people that greeted Jesus that day. It probably numbered in the scores or hundreds rather than the thousands and tens of thousands. No matter. Whatever the size of the crowd, they lifted their voices and praised God. The Messiah was entering Jerusalem and God was doing great things. The roar of the crowd was at least impressive enough to cause the religious authorities to be offended and fearful.
Our loud voices continue to be raised to the Lord today. We gather together every Sunday in order to sing God’s praise, but we don’t stop there. We also worship the Lord when we raise our voices together in a cry for justice. God is honored when we join our voices in a call for peace. God’s praises ring in our words of hope.
There were people in Jerusalem who were not lining the streets in order to welcome Jesus. Still, they heard the loud voice of the crowd and knew that something extraordinary was happening. Many around us are caught up in the glitter of bling, the worries of the world and the struggles of life. Our loud voices proclaim that something great is happening—God is afoot in the world.
Anoint our words, Lord, so that they may announce your presence, proclaim your love, and invite others to join us in singing your praises. Amen.
Friday, April 7, 2017–Triumphal Entry
“’I tell you if these were silent the stones would shout out’” (Luke 19:40).
Karen and Cal Miller emerged from the church sanctuary overwhelmed by the music. Their congregation had hosted a college choir. The combined voices of the young men and women had praised God in a manner that was refreshing to one’s ears, renewing to one’s spirit and uplift to one’s heart. Later in the concert’s afterglow the Miller’s gathered with several of their friends for coffee, dessert and conversation. All agreed that the concert had been magnificent.
“As great as the concert was, I’m glad that songs aren’t the only way that we hear God’s praises,” Carlota shared. “I hear God’s praises when I sit on the beach and listen to the waves.” “You’re right,” agreed Akihito. “I hear sounds of praise when the wind blows through the pines in my back yard.” “Don’t you think that the sunrise is a fanfare to God’s gift of the coming day” added Binh, “and the sunset a glorious postlude?”
The Psalmist writes, “The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). All we need to do is to listen silently to the worship and praise of all creation.
Glorious God, we join together with all of creation to sing your praises and to worship you. Amen.
Saturday, April 8, 2017–Triumphal Entry
“’If you, even you had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace’” (Luke 19:42).
Kevin and Jake had lived in the same neighborhood and gone to the same schools for years. They knew a lot about each other, but instead of being friends, they were enemies. They didn’t remember why they became enemies, but whenever they were near each other they would start putting each other down. Their mutual friends encouraged them to “bury the hatchet.” The two boys never made the effort to do so, however.
Throughout the centuries, the Lord had offered the People of Israel the path of peace. They rarely accepted it. They preferred to rebel against the Lord, fight with each other and go to war with the neighboring nations. We’re not much different. We find it all too convenient to dislike, or even hate, those who have different political beliefs than we do, or who are simply different from us. Still the Lord offers us “things that make for peace.” The Lord invites us to forgive, and to celebrate our similarities and accept our differences. The Spirit empowers us to love. Like the Israelites of old, we choose how we will live—in peace or at war.
God of love and forgiveness, give us both the will and the ability to live at peace with our neighbors and to spread love rather than hate. Amen.
Sunday, April 9, 2017–Triumphal Entry
“’You did not recognize the time of your visitation from God’” (Luke 19:44).
There’s a video going around Facebook which goes something like this.
A young boy packs a peanut butter and jelly sandwich along with some other lunch items into a bag. “I’m going to go and talk with God,” he announces. The boy walks to a park and sits beside an older lady. They begin to talk and the boy shares his lunch with the lady. When the boy returns home he declares that he has had lunch with God. The scene changes to the elderly residence where the lady lives. She, too, announces that she had lunch with God.
The people of Jerusalem missed God’s visit in Jesus, because they were looking for a different Messiah than the suffering one Jesus knew he was called to be. We frequently fail to recognize God’s visits because we are looking for manifestations similar to the three men and Abraham, Moses and the burning bush, Mary and the angel Gabriel and the Mount of Transfiguration. God usually comes to us through people who offer us their friendship, words of wisdom and insight, presence and love. When we make the effort to see God, we discover that God visits us a number of times each day.
Open our eyes, Lord, so that we can see you and live in the knowledge that you are with us. Amen.