*Theme Week – Jesus: Matthew 21
Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 29 & 30
Psalms Reading: Psalm 91
I love celebrating. Who doesn’t!? But my two favorite holidays are Christmas and Easter, and honestly the time leading up to those celebrations is as precious to me as the holidays themselves. The Advent of Christmas is all about preparing for the birth of the Messiah and the remembrance of that birth. And the only thing better than the birth of our Messiah, in my opinion, was his resurrection from death. This week we’ll be looking at Scriptures in the Gospels that tell the story of Christ and his followers and their days leading up to Christ’s resurrection.
And as we read along, we can prepare together for this special celebration.
Our first passage is Matthew 21. We see Christ and his disciples returning to Jerusalem. It’s packed with those who have traveled there to worship and partake in Passover, and Jesus is coming in on a colt that has never been ridden, fulfilling prophecy. And the people are celebrating! They are preparing the way for him, throwing cloaks and garments and palm branches down to create a path. Can you imagine being there? It’s packed with people and you are taking off your cloak and throwing it on the ground so donkeys can walk over them. It sounds so strange yet this was a sign of amazing respect and admiration. They were singing praises for this man who was entering in such a public, and yet very humble, fashion.
And the first thing Jesus does is ride right up to the temple and enter God’s Holy Place. And what does he find there? A market. A “den of robbers.” Have you ever been to a public, open air market? It’s loud. People are yelling to advertise, chattering, bargaining. It’s overwhelming and busy, full of animal noises and feces. This is what they have made out of God’s house. How can anyone come in prayer and worship and reverence in such a place? And Jesus cleans up in another very public display.
I love this entry. It’s full of this contrast of humility and power. It’s full of passion, from both the crowds as well as Jesus. And it’s such a perfect reflection of how I want to see Jesus coming into my life this week.
Take some time today and prepare yourself with me. Ask yourself:
How can I prepare my life and clear a path for Christ to enter into it this week?
What do I need to lay before him to honor him? My time? My focus? My attention?
How can I celebrate and praise him this week?
What, like that noisy marketplace in the temple, is creating noise and distraction in my life and in my mind?
What is dirtying up my faith and my prayer life? What do I need to oust and overturn?
My hope and prayer for you today is that Jesus enters your life in spectacular fashion and causes a stir in your heart just as he caused a stir in Jerusalem so long ago. Happy Palm Sunday!
- Take some time with the questions in today’s devotion.
- Throughout the week continue reading the Scriptures asking yourself, “Who is this Jesus?” and what is he teaching us about himself, his purpose and his Father?