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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 21:1–11             

When they 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.” (NRSV)

There’s a line in the hit musical Hamilton, after the Americans have defeated the British at Yorktown: “The world turned upside down.” I couldn’t help but hum this line to myself while reading this passage. Here was Jesus, the prophesied king coming into Jerusalem—on a donkey. At the most triumphant time in his entire ministry, Jesus was at his most humble. He took all worldly expectation of power, of privilege, and turned it on its head.

This vision of Jesus riding into Jerusalem gives us a reimagined way to look at kingship and power in our world. While our worldly leaders are often bombastic, boastful, and arrogant, Jesus provides a different blueprint. He is the King of kings, and he sought out the lowly donkey for his moment of great adulation.

But that is the story of Jesus’ ministry: It’s not the rich who will be blessed, but the poor; not the strong, but the weak. The powerful will be brought to their knees, and the humble will be exalted. And the world will be turned upside down.

Lord, thank you for your example of humility and true strength. Help me to put aside my own pride and be your disciple in this world. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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