Hey, what’s going on here? It says “Day 40” and we’re not at the end of the story? I thought this reading was for the “40 days of Lent.” If that was your thought then you’re one of many (like myself) who didn’t grow up immersed in the Lenten experience. If we had, we’d have known that when the Church started this “40 days of prayer and fasting” leading to Passion Week, they did not consider Sundays to be normal days of the week. In fact, because they SO BELIEVED in the resurrection, they insisted that Sundays be for feasting and celebration. So they didn’t count Sundays for the six weeks of Lent which meant that the calendar span of the Lenten season was actually 46 days, not 40. Look at it this way, if you thought you were only getting 40 days worth of material you’ve just been given a gift of 6 more days of the Greatest Story of All. Don’t forget, we are going to keep moving on to Volume 2 of The Jesus Trilogy (The Sequel – Acts) once we’re done with this part!
March 29, Sunday
The next day Jesus sent two of His disciples ahead to the village with these instructions, “Just as you enter the town, you’ll notice a donkey tied up with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone asks what you’re doing, just tell them that ‘the Lord needs them’ and they will approve.”
So the disciples went and found everything just as Jesus had said. They untied the beasts, explained to the owners what they were doing, and led the donkeys back to Jesus. They laid their outer robes on the colt and Jesus mounted.
A crowd began to form as Jesus made His way toward Jerusalem on the donkey. It wasn’t until weeks later that Jesus’ disciples realized this was a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy which said, “Tell the daughter of Zion not to fear. Behold, your King is coming to you, humble, sitting on a donkey, yes, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
As more and more people joined the procession, they began to cheer exuberantly and to spread a royal carpet of palm branches ahead of Him, celebrating with loud shouts of praise all the miracles they’d witnessed.
Their chants and cheers climaxed in a veritable coronation hymn: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna! Lord, save us! Blessings on the King of Israel!”
In the crowd were some who had seen Jesus raise Lazarus, as well as many who had just heard about it. The Pharisees were beside themselves. “We’re getting nowhere! The whole world has gone crazy for this Man.” One of them called to Jesus and urged Him to silence the throng.
Jesus shouted back over the commotion, “Right now, if I silence the people, the stones would take up the shouting!”
At one point, as Jesus looked at the walled city, tears filled His eyes and He lamented, “If only you knew what this day could mean for you in bringing real peace. But you are unable to see it. You will see, in the days to come, your enemies surround you, invade and destroy everything — the buildings and you and your children — all because you missed the opportunity God provided.”
The city was all abuzz as the parade made its way through the gates. Some visitors asked, “Who is that Man?”
“Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee” they answered.
Jesus went straight to the temple, and many who were blind or lame were brought to Him to be healed. The chief priests saw all this, even children dancing around, waving palm branches, and singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” They were outraged and asked Jesus if He was hearing them.
“Yes. I think you may have read the passage that says, ‘Out of the mouths of little children God has brought forth praise.’
After taking time to thoroughly look over the temple courts, Jesus and the Twelve headed back out to Bethany for the night since it was late in the day.