Matthew 21 - Lectionary Studies by Pastor Craven
Before there were Easter Biddies and Easter Bunnies there were Easter Donkeys. Easter Donkeys!? This week will be a hassle for Jesus, beginning with a donkey ride. Then there’s that unpleasant scene at the first of the week when Jesus loses it and drives out all the liturgical money changers and small shop vendors selling souvenirs and animals at church.
As the week winds down there will be confrontations with authorities. They will ask to see his license, by what authority are you here? Who gave you this permit? Tensions will rise, the language will get meaner, the positions will be more rigid. The hostility will boil. Why does Jesus put up with all that stress and conflict? Is it worth the hassle, Jesus?
If the goal of life is to find ways to avoid hassles, to find easy and comfortable solutions to challenges, Jesus is in for a long, drawn-out week. He believed that those who follow him will believe that the earth and all creatures in it are worth the struggle to redeem them. On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into town to absorb the hassle. He must have thought we were worth it. Hee Haw! Hee Haw! Hee Haw!!
When Jesus and his disciples had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, `The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
"Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."