Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

I wish you all a meaningful day of reflecting on the day Jesus entered Jerusalem in his final days!  I don't have time for a full post, but wanted to jot down some notes if I were going to write one ;-)
  • We think of Jesus' entrance happening on Sunday largely because of counting back using Mark.  However, the chronology of Matthew seems slightly different and it is difficult to know with absolute certainty.
  • Jesus sends disciples ahead to a village to get a donkey (Matthew has two animals probably reflecting a tradition that conformed the story to a particular interpretation of Zechariah).  One question is whether Jesus had prearranged to get the donkey or whether this was more miraculous.
  • They spread their garments and lay palm branches down.  Different readings here.  Horsley thinks he was mocking Herod Antipas, who would have entered the city with immense splendor.  Was he symbolically acting out Zechariah and thus indicating that he was the Messiah?  I tend toward this last idea.  I am sympathetic also to those who see a middle ground between Jesus entry being an "in your face" statement of his identity and more one that mostly insiders understood. 
  • The laying down of palms seems reminiscent of Psalm 118:26-27.  A picture of Jesus emerges in which he has mediated on Scripture in relation to God's purpose for him.  The practice of connecting events in his life to OT passages thus originates with him.
  • This verse in Psalm 118 also has overtones of rejection.  The one who comes in the name of the Lord enters but with overtones of rejection by his people.

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