Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the day when the church celebrates the anniversary of the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. On that day a little under 2000 years ago, the crowd welcomed their humble Messiah with Palm Branches (a national symbol) and with shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” This whole week, the church will reflect on the last week of Jesus’ life here on earth, before he was crucified and laid in the grave on Friday. Then, on Easter Sunday, we’ll celebrate His glorious resurrection! If you’d like to dive deeper into what happened this week in 30 A.D. (or thereabouts), Justin Taylor is posting a short video every day (4-5 mins each) on his blog, where New Testament scholars look at the last week of Jesus life and break it down into bite-sized pieces. It’s been very good so far.
I’m so grateful to have this week to refocus my thoughts on Christ and His sacrifice, because honestly, I’ve been very distracted this Lenten season. In a previous post, I mentioned that I was observing Lent this year by limiting my tv watching to Friday and Sunday nights and giving up cream in my coffee. I have done those things fairly faithfully, but not sincerely as an offering to the Lord in my heart. It’s been more of a task on my list of things to do—something to just check off and feel good about myself for doing. I’ve filled my nights of no tv with other things like books or cooking/cleaning, and when my husband leads me in our Lenten devotion together each night, I often just do my best to stay awake… and, as for the cream in my coffee, the “bitter reminder” that it was supposed to be to turn my heart to Christ just disappears because I get distracted with something else. It’s been a spiritually dry season. Until this past weekend…
This past Saturday, my dear husband was away on a trip, and I had the house to myself. It was glorious and just what I needed. I got so much done around the house! But, most importantly, I had some time to sit myself down before the Lord and hash out what was going on in my heart. We’re still working on that. But it was still a wonderful morning with the Lord. Then, Palm Sunday was such a sweet, joyful celebration at my church. It was so good for my soul.
This week, thinking each day about what Christ did so long ago (with the help of Justin Taylor’s blog which I linked to above and reading through our devotional) has made Jesus more real to me. He was a real, flesh-and-blood man, living in this tangible world, dealing with various types of actual people, and then dying an intensely physical death. I know these things, but they have become fresh and real to me again. So, Sunday I will celebrate with all the saints—at my church and throughout the world—that this real, flesh-and-blood man is now risen from the dead and is reigning at the right hand of our Father in Heaven. And I will rejoice that all the promises of God have found their ‘yes’ in Him (2 Cor 1:20-22).
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5
~ Carrie Kelly