A Hero’s Welcome

Jesus was given a hero’s welcome when He entered Jerusalem however, days later the same people who cheered, were calling for His death.

My sisters and brothers:

When the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a three-games to one hole, to win the NBA Championship over the Golden State Warriors, the city of Cleveland erupted in joy. In defeating the defending champion Warriors, LeBron James and his Cavalier teammates brought the first championship to Cleveland in over fifty years. When the team arrived from the championship game in California, the Cleveland Fans gave them a hero’s welcome, including a parade attended by an estimated1.5 million people.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Potter – an orthopedic surgeon, who spent the last four months caring for injured service members and Afghan Allies – returned home to a very enthusiastic hero’s welcome. His entire neighborhood in suburban Bethesda, Maryland, threw a block party in his honor.

Collins English Dictionary defines a hero’s welcome as a very enthusiastic reception from a group of people who show their admiration for something exceptional, that a person or group of people have done.

Jesus was given a hero’s welcome as He entered Jerusalem. The Gospel account in Luke 19:36-38 tells us that as Jesus rode along, people in a sign of respect and love, spread their cloaks on the road.

As Jesus started to go “down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’”

The Cleveland Cavaliers Lieutenant Colonel Potter, and Jesus Christ all richly deserved their heroes’ welcome. However, most of the people who welcomed Jesus that day in Jerusalem, soon turned into a bitter mob, demanding His crucifixion.
What happened to Jesus in Jerusalem – going from hero to the crucified one within the space of a few days – started me to think.

How many times have we given Jesus a hero’s welcome during worship on Sunday morning, and then reject our Lord and Savior on Monday?

How many times have we embraced Jesus when giving godly advice to others, but forget that same advice when it comes to situations in our own lives?

How many times have we given Jesus a hero’s welcome to get us through times of trouble, then all but neglect Him when things are going well?

On this Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, we commemorate Jesus’ passion, love and resurrection. Let us resolve to always give Jesus the hero’s welcome that He so richly deserves.

When we put Jesus first in our lives, we will receive the hero’s welcome of grace, love, power, and the opportunity to obtain the ultimate hero’s welcome of all – everlasting life with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

Have a blessed Holy Week.

The Power Walks of Jesus

While the donkey ride that we commemorate on Palm Sunday is important, the real triumph takes place when Jesus is powerwalking with us.

Palm SundayWelcome to Palm Sunday, a commemoration of the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  The account of this event in Matthew 21: 1-9 portrays the excitement as the crowd spread their coats and branches on the road.  The enthusiasm reached a fever pitch as everyone around Jesus shouted:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Alias, as we all know, this wonderful reception and the good feelings for the Son of David, was only to last for a short time, as Jesus would be:

Arrested by His enemies,

Betrayed by His disciples, and

Crucified by a mob so hungry for blood that they could not see His innocence.

While all of these events are foretold in prophecy, it is still Jesus on Dunkeydistributing that our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings, and Son of God suffered these incredible indignities.  However, these events also show how much the Lord loves us.  He sent Jesus His only Son to a horrible death on the cross so that we might have an opportunity for a glorious new life in relationship with our Heavenly Father.

It is ironic that prophecy had Jesus in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding instead of walking, as was His custom.  His walks were not on smooth paved roads or walking paths as in our modem world.  Rather, it was on the dry, dirty, and uneven roads of His time on earth.

And so it was, that the only time that we can find in scripture that Jesus was spared from walking, was not on a grand coach befitting His royal status, but it was on a humble donkey.

And so it was, that the only time that we can find in scripture that Jesus was welcomed like the rock-star that He is, was in a procession into a city, Jerusalem, the same city in which He would suffer and die within a few days.

And so was, I think it is fair to conclude, that this scripture shows that while Jesus is all powerful, His power is truly manifested, not when He is riding, but when He is walking.

And so it is, while we commemorate that donkey ride on Palm Sunday. Let’s take a few moments to focus on some power walking that Jesus did for us.

Walking In Faith – John 4:46-54

Cana to CapernaumJesus was in Cana, where He had turned the water into wine. While there in Cana, a government official, from the city of Capernaum, approached Jesus with a request.  The man’s son was at death’s door, and the man begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son.  Clearly frustrated by the lack of faith, Jesus asked, “Won’t any of you believe in me unless I do more and more miracles?”  Despite Jesus’ question, the official continued to pled, “Sir, please come now before my child dies.”

Then Jesus told the man from Capernaum, “Go back home. Your son is healed!” And the man believed Jesus and started to walk home. It was during the lonely walk home some of the man’s servants met him with the news that all was well and his son had recovered.  Clearly relieved, the man asked when the lad begun to feel better.  The servant replied, “Yesterday afternoon at about one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” Then the father realized it was the same moment that Jesus had told him, “Your son is healed.” And the officer and his entire household believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

Walking the Harvest – Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus walked around and visited towns, both big and small. HarvestWherever Jesus walked He taught in the Jewish synagogues, announcing the Good News and healing people of every sort of illness. In his walks, Jesus saw the great need of the people, feeling pity for them.  He described them as sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus told his disciples a huge harvest of people need the Lord. He asked the Lord to recruit more workers to harvest His fields.

The Walk to Emmaus and Beyond – Luke 24:13-27

On the same day of His resurrection, two of Jesus’ disciples were walking to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles out of Jerusalem.  The men were deep in conversation about the events leading up to crucifixion, and then all of a sudden Jesus came up and walked along side of them. But they did not recognize Him.

Recognizing that both men were distraught and troubled, Jesus asked what they were upset about.  They recapped Jesus’s entire history of teaching, challenging religious leaders, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, healing the sick, and casting out demons.  They concluded by discussing the report that the body of Jesus was missing. The tone of the men indicated that they quested the account.

Walk to Jerusalem to Emmaus

Hearing this, Jesus replied and said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into His glory?” Then He started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to Him.

The men were so in awe of Him that they asked Jesus to spend the night, so He went with them. Here is what happened: Jesus sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, He blessed and broke it and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, the disciples recognized Jesus. And then He disappeared

After Jesus left, the two men talked and they agreed. “Didn’t we feel on fire as He conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”

Power Walk Conclusions

1.    Jesus walks because He wants you to walk in Faith  

When Jesus told the Capernaum official to “Go back home. Your son is healed!” He was expressing that as we walk, we should walk in the faith that only He affords.

 2.    Jesus wants to use our walk to bring in a huge harvest for the Lord.

As we saw in Matthew 9:35-38, there is no place too small for Jesus to walk.  His walk was a fulfillment of God’s faith in us, and His commitment to covert us to be workers for the harvest.

 3.    Our world opens up when we discover that Jesus is walking with us. 

The two disciples of Jesus, walking to Emmaus, learned firsthand how much clearer and open the world can be when we know that Jesus is with us.  Jesus commands us to use the clearness and openness to realize the Great Commission

Commemorate the Ride but Remember the Walk

PalmsWhile the donkey ride that we commemorate on Palm Sunday is important, the real triumph takes place when Jesus is powerwalking with us. For in those powerwalks Jesus:

  • Heals us with faith,
  • Harvests us to do His will, and
  • Open our hearts to His love, His grace and His goodness.

So this Palm Sunday, let’s commemorate the ride but remember the power walk of Jesus.