Daily Reading & Meditation

  Palm Sunday (March 20): "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord"

Gospel Reading: Luke 19:28-40  [See Passion Narrative & Meditation for Luke 22:14--23:56]

28 And when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 If any one asks you, `Why are you untying it?' you shall say this, `The Lord has need of it.'" 32 So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 And they said, "The Lord has need of it." 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt they set Jesus upon it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road. 37 As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a  loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 39 And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." 40 He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7

4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary.  Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear  to hear as those who are taught. 5 The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward. 6 I gave my back to the smitters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;  I hid not my face  from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded;  therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

Meditation: Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your home and heart? Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited him - betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. The people of Jerusalem, however, were ready to hail him as their Messianic King! Little did they know what it would cost this king to usher in his kingdom. Jesus' entry into Jerusalem astride a colt was a direct fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah (9:9):

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem.  Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on an donkey and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.
The colt was a sign of peace. Jesus enters Jerusalem in meekness and humility, as the Messianic King who offers victory and peace to his people. That victory and peace would be secured in the cross and resurrection which would soon take place at the time of Passover.

Augustine, the great 5th century church father, comments on the significance of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem:

"The master of humility is Christ who humbled himself and became obedient even to death, even the death of the cross.  Thus he does not lose his divinity when he teaches us humility... What great thing was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity? For Christ was not the king of Israel so that he might exact a tax or equip an army with weaponry and visibly vanquish an enemy. He was the king of Israel in that he rules minds, in that he gives counsel for eternity, in that he leads into the kingdom of heaven for those who believe, hope, and love.  It is a condescension, not an advancement for one who is the Son of God, equal to the Father, the Word through whom all things were made, to become king of Israel.  It is an indication of pity, not an increase in power." (Tractates on John 51.3-4)
 Psalm 24 is another prophetic passage which echoes this triumphal procession of the King of glory:
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in.
Jesus Christ came to bring us the kingdom of God. He is the true King who offers peace, joy, and everlasting life for those who accept his kingship. Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your heart and home? Do your walls echo with the praise of his glory?

"Lord Jesus, be the King and Ruler of my heart, mind, life, and home. May my life reflect your meekness and humility that you may be honored as the King of glory!"

Psalm 24:3-10

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. [Selah]
7 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! [Selah]

A Daily Quote for Lent: The following of Christ, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

"Come, follow Me, says the Lord. Do you love? He has hastened on, He has flown on ahead. Look and see where. O Christian, don't you know where your Lord has gone? I ask you: Don't you wish to follow Him there? Through trials, insults, the cross, and death. Why do you hesitate? Look, the way has been shown you." (excerpt from Sermon 64,5)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use.  Cite copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, and author Don Schwager

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.

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