Today’s bible study is from the Gospel of Mark 11:1-11: And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
On Palm Sunday we recognize the hope of the Jews for momentous life-changing events. The joyous entry of Jesus and His followers into Jerusalem for the Passover sets high an expectation for a happy, life-changing event to come, which for the Jews was the much hoped for liberation from Roman rule. On Palm Sunday at Trinity we observe the events in the life of Jesus during the whole week we call Holy Week. God shows us through Jesus’ actions during Holy Week how to accept and live with the life-changing experiences that are not our preordained desire for our life.
A life-changing experience for me was the birth of my first child. It was life-changing in unanticipated ways that I worked through for many years. I know that I was not always willing and accepting of God’s will for me and for my child. It was only when I stopped trying to impose my will and let God control the outcome that I received peace.
Jesus’ sending His disciples for a donkey to ride foreshadows the realization that Jesus can see places and events that we cannot. We know in retrospect that this triumphal entry described in such detail was not about establishing an earthly kingdom, and Jesus knew this. I believe His followers loved and admired Him, but in human-like behavior they disappeared when the going got tough. If something similar to this happens to us, we are not to let it cause us additional grief. God is always with us. This week is all downhill from Palm Sunday.
Celebrating a happy event with all of our heart, even when we know that all will not end well, is what we are called to do. Life is good and holy even when we know it is terminal at a time that is unknown to us. We want to feel we are in charge of our lives, but it is only through the Lord that we are able to sustain ourselves through the most distressing events we experience. God’s grace will be with us and He will hold us in His hand.
Today is a day to be joyous. Happy expectations will be met, but maybe not today.
St. Martin’s in the Fields, Charter Member
Columbia, South Carolina