Wednesday, June 13th. Mark 11:7-11

Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

 

“Hosanna!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

 

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.  Mark 11:7-11

 

Finally now Jesus appears in Jerusalem.  He is the anti-Caesar.

 

Coming in peace he rides a colt rather than a stunning white full-size horse.  He neither follows nor leads an impressive army.  There are no long lines of newly captured slaves or other signs of great military conquests.  His path into town is a steep descent down a narrow path, not the broad avenue specially designed in Rome for processions just like this…traveled by all the previous big dogs, each trying to outdo the rest in pomp, splendor, and majesty.

 

He reaches Jerusalem and, oddly enough, not much is going on.  I picture here Dakota Avenue, the main street in my hometown, after all of the businesses have closed for the day.  All is weirdly quiet.  So Jesus heads back out to Bethany for the night.

 

We reenact this scene every Palm Sunday.  A crowd gathers outside of the entrance door.  Somehow the crowd always seems a bit smaller than it really ought to be.  We are remembering, after all, the entrance into the last week of the life of the Savior of the world.  But far more people aren’t there than are.

 

A normal Sunday might be cause for 30% of a congregation’s membership to make it to worship.  But that number is divided between two or more worship services…and the Palm Sunday thing happening outside the church doors is right at the very beginning of worship which means it leaves out the late comers, and those who find it hard to walk, thus the crowd outside is always just a little bit less than we expect.

 

Why are we surprised at that?

 

The old joke in North Dakota is that the cold winters “keep the riff raff out.”  I never really understood that line (it always seemed to me that we had plenty of riff raff anyway…not to mention that we never used the words “riff raff” other than the times we sought a silver lining in the dark cloud of freezing our toes off.)  But there is something in Mark’s telling of the Jesus story about lines being drawn and sides being chosen and crowds being fickle and Jesus ultimately being left very much alone.

 

We would love to fool ourselves with the notion that we would have stuck by Jesus to the end.  There is a little bit of Peter in all of us bystanders.

 

And while I would prefer to gather on a Palm Sunday with 100% of the membership of a congregation, and many of their friends, it won’t happen.  It won’t happen because we have heard the story too many times so we think we already get it.  And even if we get it, seeing it sometimes might be too much.

 

There wasn’t much going on around the temple.  So Jesus called it a night.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, as we turn now to spend the rest of our time in Mark, we are drawing ever closer to that cross off in the distance.  As we hear again what you have done for us, we pray that you might continue doing the work of salvation in us, that we might join you in that healing work around us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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One Response to “Wednesday, June 13th. Mark 11:7-11”

  1. Shari Says:

    “We would love to fool ourselves with the notion that we would have stuck by Jesus to the end. There is a little bit of Peter in all of us bystanders.”

    Your reflections today in this devotion really touched me! Thank you for reaching the deep places of my heart.

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