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Who is Jesus? 

An Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday, March 24 by Melanie Myatt


Lectionary reading for 3/24/2024: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 • Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16

Selected passage for reflection: Mark 11.1-11


Read

Mark 11.1-11 NLT


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!”


11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.


Reflect 

This is a pretty big day for Jesus, but not for the reason that most people were thinking. 


Imagine, for example, the thoughts and emotions of the two disciples sent to gather the donkey. What if they were actually kind of hoping someone would object to their taking the donkey? If someone tried to stop them, they would have an opportunity to share the news that must have been bubbling up inside of them. Just imagine their feeling of self-importance and authority as they say, “The Lord needs it.” 


From the time they started following Jesus, the disciples have been waiting for that moment when Jesus will be crowned the true and rightful King of the Jews. Surely this is the moment for his royal reception in Jerusalem. Surely this is their time to share in the glory due to Jesus. 


Jesus had just told them whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to everyone else (Mark 10.44). Would running this errand for Jesus count as putting themselves in a sacrificial position? Maybe when Jesus takes his place of honor in Jerusalem their errand will be remembered, and they will be upheld as true servants of the glorious and majestic King!


Of course, we read this passage with an eye to the ending we know is coming. How can we join in the celebration of the crowds or even consider the anticipation of the disciples when we know the devastating events that are imminently approaching? Even if we wave our palm branches in celebration now, we know the great cost that will be counted again at the end of this week. 


We know what the disciples didn’t: that Jesus is entering Jerusalem to become the King of Kings but only through his death. Jesus didn’t enter Jerusalem to overcome the Roman authorities; he came into Jerusalem to conquer sin, the Adversary, and death. 



Respond 

We can resemble the fickle crowds: waving our palm branches on Sunday, and heading back to life as usual on Monday. What would it look like to live on Monday as someone who has welcomed and celebrated the King of Kings? How might our priorities for the week be realigned if we consider that the King of Kings has a vested  interest in the choices we make? Take some time to consider what the claim of Jesus as King means for you this week.



Rest 

The amazing thing about having Jesus as our King is that he isn’t like the kings of this world who want to conscript people for service, or, worse, slavery. Jesus as King offers us rest, peace, and wholeness. Today, take five deep breaths. As you inhale, say, “Jesus my King.” As you exhale, say, “I rest in you.” 



About the Author 




Melanie currently works as a chaplain at a retirement community in Glenview, Illinois. She is also a spiritual director, writer, mom of four, and crackerjack time-waster. If you like her writing, you can also find her on Substack


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