Week Four: Palm Sunday

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Morning dawned fresh and beautiful. The dewdrops glistened on the rosebuds that curved up to the roof. They had yet to be touched by the power of the sun. Hope. Anna saw hope. Anna smiled a bittersweet, weighty smile as she looked out over Jerusalem from her roof.  She missed her father even more but she felt his presence when she sat here. It was almost as if her father was here. Her heart was still pained but she had met Jesus and she was slowly beginning to heal. Anna slowly stood up from the bench. She decided to go to the market for some fresh produce. She hoped that she would see Jesus. She wanted to see Him again, to touch His robe, to hear His voice, to just be near Him. That was enough.
As Anna was selecting the best apricots she heard a symphony of noisy, joyous, cheering. Now what could that be? She saw Jesus coming on a donkey. The townspeople took off their robes and quickly cut branches off the nearby trees. They shouted joyously. Some of the women were weeping tears of joy.
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest”! (Mt. 21:9)

“Tell Daughter, Zion, look your King is coming to you, gentle and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden” (Mt. 21:5, Is. 62:11, Zch. 9:9).
Anna watched in awe. Her mouth hung open. Jesus was riding a donkey but not once did the donkey’s hooves touch the ground. The robes of the people blanketed the dirty ground. Children ran back and forth excitedly shouting the name of Jesus. A festive mood covered the streets of Jerusalem. Anna smiled when Jesus passed her by. Jesus smiled back as if she was the only person in the whole wide world. Oh, how Anna wished that her father was present. He would rejoice to see Jesus praised and to see an old prophecy come to light. It seemed such a juxtaposition for Jesus the king of kings to be riding on the humblest of animals. But perhaps, Jesus used the most humble and unwanted to best proclaim His glory. Anna wiped a tear that slipped from her eye. She was broken and rejected and yet God still decided to use her for His glory. It blew her away. Jesus turned down the Via Dolorosa where the people continued to praise the name of Jesus. Today it was not the way of suffering.

 

Luca stood in the background behind the Olive tree on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It was his duty to stand guard and make sure the Jews were obeying Roman law and that the Jesus fellow didn’t start a revolt. But he wished to remain hidden. He didn’t wish for Anna to see him. The guilt was still too much for him to bear. Anna had been a nice girl, sweet, kind, loving, and spunky. But she didn’t compare to the gorgeous Sophia. Sophia was easy to love. Anna was difficult because she had faith in a God that Luca refused to believe in. Such foolishness. How could Anna really believe that simple man riding a donkey was the so said Messiah? Luca had his life planned out to a tee. Nobody was going to ruffle his plans.
“Hey babe”. Luca turned to see Sophia slyly come up. She placed her left arm on his.
“I brought you some fresh coffee from the Jerusalem Java”.
Luca smiled and lightly kissed the top of her head.
“Thanks”.
“What’s with you honey? Something’s wrong”. Sophia’s syrupy, sweet, words flowed out and soothed any convictions that Luca might’ve once possessed.
Luca shook his head.
“Please tell me you’re not still thinking about the Jesus girl”.
“Sophia, there’s something different about Jesus. He’s different than any of the religious leaders. I mean what religious leader actually would ride on a donkey and get people to follow Him? Most of the religious rulers around here only tell others what to do without doing it. I’m sick of this hypocrisy!
“’Babe, Jesus is just a nice man doing good things. Don’t worry about him. You have better things to pay attention to”. Sophia put her arm on Luca’s armor and smiled seductively.
“Tonight, come to my house. I’ll be ready”. Sophia purred the words out as she batted her freshly mascaraed eyelashes. She quickly kissed his cheek and frolicked away.
Luca smiled. He was a lucky man.

 

Jesus had passed through the streets and the crowds had followed. It looked like he was headed toward the temple. It was time to follow to make sure everything remained under control.
Luca strode confidently ahead. His face remained stoic, showing no emotion.
Merchants of all ethnicities were selling their best at the temple square. The crowds that had just journeyed from the streets were eagerly buying in the temple. The merchants had certainly thought through this marketing scheme quite well.
Luca watched as Jesus calmly got off his donkey. He tied it to the nearest pole outside the temple square. But Luca saw his eyes. The eyes of Jesus were like a flame of fire. He was not pleased.
Jesus turned over the tables and knocked over the chairs of the those selling.
Luca covered his face to hide his smirk. This was too funny. Luca knew Jesus would mess up sooner or later.
“My house is to be called a house of prayer! You have made it a den of thieves”!
All money changing stopped. Not a sound was heard except the doves crying.
Everyone was stunned by the actions of Jesus.
Luca saw Anna kneel and start helping clean up. Luca slipped into the shadows, so he wouldn’t be seen. He had seen her face, how she watched and adored every move of Jesus. But Luca had also seen the look on Anna’s face when he had turned her away not long ago. Luca knew that his rejection of Anna hurt her deeply, though he refused to dwell on the fact. What was another woman’s heart?
Jesus stood firm until all the moneychangers had picked up their merchandise and left.
Then the blind and lame began coming to Jesus. Jesus healed each one. He looked them each in the eye and had a personal word with everyone regardless of the size of the concern. Luca marveled that someone could care for so many disgusting, dirty people.
The children were chasing each other around the temple as they waved their palm branches. They continued to cry “Hosanna, Hosanna”!
The religious leaders became annoyed and frustrated.
“I wish these children would simply shut up and go home. Do you hear what these children are saying”? The religious leaders said loudly so that Jesus would hear.
“Yes, I hear what they are saying! Haven’t you read the prophecies? Out of the mouth of infants the truth is proclaimed”.
The leaders were silent and shuffled over to Luca who was still cowering in the shadows.
“I want Him out immediately”. The tall, Pharisee whispered to Luca.
Luca nodded, and said nothing as the Pharisees stalked off.

 

Scripture passages taken from Matt. 21, Mark 11, and Ps. 8:2.

 

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