God, Save Us! - Friday, Mark 11:1-11
We are near the end of the fourth week in Lent, and today we are beginning Mark chapter 11. Jesus has been traveling to Jerusalem with his friends, and when he arrives he is greeted like a king.
Jesus and his followers are coming from Jericho to Jerusalem. Jericho is the lowest city on earth: it is about 800 feet below sea level. And Jerusalem is high, high up on a hill! They were walking from a low, dry, dusty and hot place up to the Mount of Olives, and then on to Jerusalem — David's city, and the place where you could come close to God in the temple. I wonder if, as they climbed that hard, hot road, their hearts grew lighter and more excited until they could finally glimpse the walls of the
Jesus and his followers are coming to Jerusalem for Passover. This is the time when all of God's people celebrate how God saved them and carried them out of slavery and into freedom. Jesus has been talking all along the road about God's kingdom coming close. I wonder what the people following Jesus were hoping he would do for them as he came into the city for the festival?
Can I imagine myself in the crowd, as we lay down our coats to make a smooth path for a coming king? How does Jesus look to me, as I see him slowly ride by on the back of a donkey's colt?
The words the people shouted were from Psalm 118. It is a song that celebrates God saving his people, and everyone goes up to Jerusalem to celebrate and sing to him. "Hosanna!" means, "God, save us!" and "Blessed is he who comes" means, "welcome!" Can I cry out both of those things to Jesus right now? "Save us, Son of God! Welcome: let your kingdom come in my life!"
The people lay down their coats to make a royal road for Jesus — and their coats will be ruined by the dust, the stones, and the donkey's hooves. They wave branches to welcome him in a special way, to come and rule over them and their city. Is there anything I can lay down before Jesus to honor him today? Am I ready to welcome him as the king I will follow?
After all of this excitement, Jesus comes into the city...and then he looks around a little, and leaves to stay overnight in Bethany. I wonder how his disciples felt at the end of that day?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to talk with God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to carry with me into the rest of my day?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.