Saturday, April 27, 2019

No, not seven times, but forgive seventy times seven!

Good morning!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

How terrible our sins are!  Jesus gave one effective way to deal with sins.  The power of temptations to sins is so great that it is very hard to resist.  We often become a prey of temptations.   Jesus said,

So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.  (Matthew 18:8-9)

What is the solution against temptations?   As soon as any temptation for a sin surfaces up in our mind, immediately cut it off, then throw it away.   Don’t provide any opportunity for the temptation to causes us to sin.   Instead, hold tight Jesus Christ’s hand, and take off the temptation while fixing our eyes on Jesus.   Why does Jesus ask us to harshly deal with temptations?  Jesus himself experienced the enormous power of temptations.  After the 40 days of fasting, Satan directly attacked the weakest part of Jesus  – hunger.    Jesus fought back with God’s Word.   He did not give any chance to the temptation and immediately cut it off with God’s Word.   When temptations come into our lives, as Jesus did, we have to deal with them firmly and decisively.

The next question is how to deal with sins committed against us by the others?    Should we deal with those sins and the offenders firmly and decisively like our own sins?   Of course, not.   Jesus dealt with mercies.   Even today, Jesus is dealing with us with His mercies by forgiving our sins regardless how sinful our sins really are.   The answer is obvious.   We should forgive those who sin against us as Jesus has forgiven us.   As a result, forgiving others and their sins should become a part of our lives, if we truly live out the life of Jesus.   As matter of fact, this plain but profoundly importance of forgiveness is clearly reflected in Lord Prayer.   

One day, one of Jesus disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  Then Jesus taught how to pray with the Lord’s Prayer.   In His Lord’s prayer, Jesus said:  

“and forgive us our sins,
  as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”  (Matthew 6:12)

How many times have we recited Lord Prayer?   Every time when we recite, we, in fact, say to God, “before we ask God’s forgiveness, we first forgive those who sin against us.”   As we know, sinning is always with us.   Many of our sins are offending others.   This is the sad reality that we cannot avoid as long as we are on earth.    Only when see we Our Lord’s face, this inevitability will leave us.   

One day, Peter, who was always vocal and outgoing, came to Jesus, and asked “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”     As Jesus’ disciples, Peter saw and learned from Jesus, who was always merciful and gracious to sinners.  Peter could vividly remember the woman who was caught while she was sinning.   People brought the woman to Jesus, and they asked Jesus whether they stoned her to death.   Jesus was silent for a while, and slowly told the people, “one who does not have a sin throws a stone at her first.”   Then Jesus waited calmly and silently.   From the old men and the young ones, one by one, they dropped stones from their hands, and left the scene.  

Jesus was left alone with the woman.  Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  

“No, Lord,” the woman accused said. 

And Jesus said,

“Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11b)

Jesus completely forgave the woman, and gave one warming – sin no more.   Peter clearly remembered how Jesus forgave her.   Peter thought about a case that someone repetitively sinned against himself.  “How many times should I forgive?    Forgiving once is not easy.   Forgiving twice is even harder.”      

Peter stretched his forgiving mind as much as he could, and questioned “forgiving seven times?”    As a human being, it is very difficult to forgive someone who sins against us.   Our heart always says justice on the offender instead of mercy not like Jesus.  Suppressing this fundamental human nature is the struggle that everybody confronts with.    Let’s frankly ask to ourselves, how many times have we forgiven a same offender?   Have we forgiven once?  Many of us might have some memories of forgiving one-time offense.  Then how about the second time offence from the same person, let alone third time offence?    Surely, it would be getting hard to remember such occasions     Forgiving fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh offence from the same person?   Certainly, it is impossible for us to remember such occasions.  Forgiving once or twice might be doable, but forgiving three times or more is essentially outside of the realm of our own mercy.   Peter was quite sure about this.   He thought that forgiving seven times was far beyond and impossible for any human beings.    

What was Jesus’ answer to the Peter’s question?    It was completely out of expectation of Peter:

No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!  (Matthew 18:22)

Hmm.  Can anyone literally forgive the same offender 490 times (70x7=490)?   This is certainly not the number that any human beings can actually do.  Inevitably, it is impossible.  Then why did Jesus tell this impossibility to Peter?

Jesus graciously continue teaching Peter by telling a story:

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.  When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.”

Literally, how much money did the servant owe to the king?    1 talent is 6,000 denarii.  One denarius is one day’s wages.   This means that 1 talent is roughly 16 years’ wages.    1000 talents mean 16,000 years’ wages.    Depending on the daily wages, the actual value could vary, but it is a ridiculously huge sum of money.   Please do this: think about how much you make per year, and multiply 16,000 times to what you make yearly.   This is the money that we are talking about    As an ordinary person, there is no way to pay back this amount of money.   It is essentially an infinite amount of money to an ordinary person like you and me. 

Spiritually speaking, we are forgiven this much debts (i.e., sins) from God through the blood of Jesus Christ, which we cannot pay back with any means that we have.  (How many people in the world do actually try to pay back the debts by doing good works?   Now we know how foolish such attempt is.  Jesus is the only way, and only by the faith, we can come to Jesus.)

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then the king was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.”

The king felt pity on the servant, and he gave his mercy by forgiving his debt – 16,000 years wages!   How blessed the servant was!   Spiritually speaking, we are forgiven that much (or more) by God through His mercy.   How grateful we should be before God!    This is one of the reasons why we, Christians, are always grateful before God, Our Ever-Loving Father.   Let’s continue hearing the rest of the Jesus’ story.

 “But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’  So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’  He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.”

How much is the one hundred denarii?    As talked about before, one denarius is one day’s wages.   Thus, it is 100 days’ worth of wages, which is not a small amount of money.    However, when it is compared with the 100 talents forgiven, it is truly minuscule.   Here is a math: 16,000*365/100 = 58,400.  Roughly speaking, it is about 58,000 times more than what is owed by the fellow servant.   The servant could not forgive the other servant’s debt, which was about 58,000 times smaller.   This is plainly ridiculous.  

Spiritually speaking, this tells the gravity and size of our sins forgiven by God, and how small sins committed against us by others are.   Those sins are often as insignificant as making us unpleasant, unhappy, etc, but we tend to make big deals about these insignificant sins against us.   Jesus’ story continues:

 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’  Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.”

The people around the unforgiving servant were very uncomfortable, and couldn’t be silent any more.   They came to the king and told what the unforgiving servant did to the other servant.  Upon hearing the complaints of the people, the king summoned the unforgiving servant, and asked, “Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?”   The unforgiving servant could not say a single word.   The angry king put him in prison until he had paid his entire debts, which was impossible for him to pay back.   

Today, Jesus asks us the same question, “Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?”   What is our answer to Our Lord and King, Jesus?   

Then Jesus concluded,

That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”  (Matthew 18:35)

Sinning against us by others is inevitable.    But we should forgive others from our heart as Jesus always forgives us.   This is what God, Our Ever-Loving Father wants, and we can forgive in Him through His love and mercy.   If somebody offend us, remember the story of unforgiving servant, and forgive the offender while fixing our eyes on Jesus Christ.   The power of the love of Jesus Christ surely makes us to forgive not just once, even seven times or even seventy times seven.  Give thanks to Jesus, who gives us strength and power of forgiveness in Him!   Praise Him!

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   (Ephesians 4:32)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Jesus Is Risen, who forgives us! Celebrate, and we also forgive others.

Jesus is risen!  He is risen, indeed!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!   (Luke 24:5b-6a)

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome got together with other women and the disciples while thinking about Jesus.   They were very sad because Jesus, whom they believed as their Messiah, was crucified on cross.  They could not believe what had actually happened.   They truly believed in Jesus, and He would liberate the Jews from the Roman occupation, and established a new Jewish kingdom on earth.   Jesus did many miracles, healed the sick, and raised the dead.   And many people followed Him.   His message was always encouraging, caring and comforting.  Thus, they tasted Heaven on earth while hearing Jesus and His merciful message with full of love.  And Jesus loved His disciples till the end – dying on cross being crucified and experiencing the extreme agony in excruciating pains from His hands and feet nailed on the cross (The Roman solider exactly knew how to give the maximum pains when nailing a person on cross by driving a nail on the very center of the never systems on the hand).  Jesus was also steadily suffocating as He could no longer support His own body weight.   Jesus was slowly dying on the cross in extreme pains.  Even so, Jesus never stopped loving His disciples, who fled and betrayed.   In fact, the first word in His mouth on the cross was

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."   (Luke 23:34)

Jesus forgave those who betrayed, shouted for Him to be crucified, sentenced to death, mocked, spit on, whipped, tortured, nailed, and hang Him on cross.  While Jesus was on the cross, all but John was at the scene of the cross, along with several women including the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.  

Jesus was crucified with two other criminals and His cross was in the middle of the two crosses.   One of the criminals mocked Jesus although he was also on cross and condemned to his own death.   On the other hand, the other criminal turned to Jesus, and asked, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom,” which was an amazing faith in Jesus.   Jesus was also on the cross, bleeding and dying.  Who would confess such a faith before the Jesus crucified and dying on the cross?    For example, Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, could not believe the resurrected Jesus.   Only after he touched the risen Lord in glory, he could believe Jesus.   The criminal did not see the risen Lord in glory, but he saw the miserably crucified Jesus dying on the cross.  However, he could see through the true Jesus on the cross, and found the truth about the Jesus: the Son of God and Savior.  Before dying, the criminal put all of his faith on Jesus, and he cried out for Jesus’ mercy.    At the last moment the criminal obtained mercy.  Upon this faithful confession, Jesus blessed the criminal:

”Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  (Luke 23:43)

The criminal received the Paradise through Jesus’ mercy.   On earth, he was a criminal condemned and executed on the cross.  This is the mercy and the love of Jesus.  Whoever comes to Jesus, humbly asks His forgiveness and mercy, will receive His mercy.    Before Jesus, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven, if we humbly present our sins with our contrite heart to Jesus. 

Jesus was also merciful to His mother.   On the cross, He comforted His mother, Mary while  He was in unbearable pain and agony.  He loved His mother till the end.   He pointed to John, the only disciple at the scene of His cross, and told to Mary,

"Woman, this is your son."  Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother.   (John 19:26-27)

Jesus was the perfect man and God.  As a perfect and sinless human, He was truly in His agony.  In fact, His physical pain was only a part of His pain.   The true pain came from the crushing condemnation caused by the sins of the entire humanity.  He was being separated from His Father to become the one and only one perfect sacrificial lamb in order to carry all of the sins of the entire humanity including me and you.   There is no way for us to fathom the enormous weight of the entire sins crushing on Jesus at that time.  That pain, that agony, and that terrible separation from the Father are certainly too heavy to carry for any human beings ever born, living now, and to be born in future.   We are feeble before our sins.  We cannot bear the weight of one single self’s sins.   Additionally,  Jesus took the unfathomably enormous crushing weight of the entire sins with His love.  The Father, God, could not see His own son’s suffering and death on the cross.   At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.  Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice:

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"   (Matthew 27:46)

Jesus was rapidly approaching to His death.   He was getting thirsty due to His heavy bleeding on the cross.  It was not all.   Jesus was being separated from the love of God.  His spirit was in great thirst for love of His Father.  Father God had to left Jesus alone during this dreadful hour.  Why?  Only Jesus. Yes, Jesus alone had to go through the eternal separation from God to fulfill the mission – saving all humanity through His sacrifice on the cross.   Jesus was a fully human, and was dying.  Out of His thirst for God’s love, he barely uttered:

"I thirst."   (John 19:28)

Upon hearing, the soldiers offered wine on a sprig of hyssop to Jesus without knowing Jesus’ true internal spiritual thirst out of His loneness under the crushing power of sins and the  separation from Father God and His love.   Jesus, as a perfect human, truly experienced our weakness, loneness and our pain.  One single person cannot bear the consequence of one’s own sin (this is the reason why we need Savior.), but Jesus took the weight of the sins of all humanity.   Can we imagine the magnitude of the size and weight of what Jesus experienced?   Because of this brave and sacrificial act, we are saved.   Jesus accomplished His mission on earth by being a perfect sacrificial lamb and sacrificed.  Then Jesus said,

“It is finished.”   (John 19:30p)

Yes, the ultimate salvation plan had been just completed, and the power of death and Satan was utterly destroyed before Jesus.    Jesus became the Savior for all those who believe Jesus as one’s own savior.   Jesus was no sin at all, but He was crucified for our sins and transgressions.    This is the power of the cross.   Through the cross, we have received the eternal life having victory over sins and death forever.   Finally, Jesus cried out in a loud voice,

"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."  (Luke 23:46b)

It was the moment that we all received the final victor over death and sins forever!   Give thanks to God and His Son Jesus Christ.   Of course, we now fully know this fact and truth, but at that time, the people did not understand the fact and did not know this truth.   Although it was the victorious moment, but they were in sorrow and confusion over the death of Jesus, because they only believed as their Messiah on earth. 

Some of the women still loved Jesus.   Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, those women bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.    They were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”   The tomb was sealed with a large stone by the people who worried and feared about Jesus.  Although they killed Jesus, they remembered what was told by Jesus, “I would die and live again after three days.”  As a result, the tomb was completely sealed and secured by soldiers.   They clearly knew this, but as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.

When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, but the angel said,

“Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.  Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”   (Mark 16:6-7)

Yes, Jesus was risen!   He was risen indeed.   All of the women at the tomb were astonished because they could not believe what was told by Jesus that He would die but live again.  But they started remembering Jesus’ word.   Upon hearing the women’s story, some of the disciples ran to the tomb, and found the tomb was empty.    In confusion, they gather in one place and closed the door in fear.

On the evening of the same day, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said,

“Peace be with you!” (John 20:19b)

Jesus found His disciples in confusion and fear.  The first sentence was “Peace be with you.”   What a comforting message of Jesus, which was exactly the most wanted message.

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.   Again Jesus said,

 “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  (John 20:21b)

Jesus comforted them again.  Jesus did not reckon what was the wrong doing of the disciples.  Instead, He commissioned His disciples for His future ministry, which would come after His departure.   What was the first mission then?   Please note that at the cross, what Jesus did first.   Jesus forgave those who sinned against Him including those who were crucifying Him.   Forgiving enemies and those harming us, as human beings, is impossible.   But it is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit in the love of Jesus Christ.  Sure, then, Jesus poured the Holy Spirit on them, saying,

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:22b-23)

Jesus gave the Holy Spirit in them along with His first mission – forgiveness.  Why did Jesus choose forgiveness as His first mission for His disciples?    This is the first step to resolve all conflicts between humans on earth.   Yes, God acted first for us by forgiving us on the cross.   Then what should we do?   Of course, forgiving others.  We all know the Lord’s prayer, which was taught by Jesus during His early ministry.   Please recite the Lord Prayer, if able, and listen carefully each word by word.   How many things that we should do in the prayer?    In fat, there is only one thing that we should do – forgiving others:  

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”    (Matthew 6:12)

It is clear forgiving others is the precondition for us to get His forgiveness.    In other words, if we do not forgive others, we should not expect God’s forgiveness on us.   We all also know that truly forgiving others unconditionally is beyond our human ability.   Indeed, our true and unconditional forgiveness is the final frontier where no man has gone before.   However, in Jesus and through Jesus, it is possible.  Please let not forget -- forgiving others is the first step toward fulfilling Go’s will on earth.     After all, the cross is the proof and assurance of God’s forgiveness on us.    Jesus is risen!  Yes, He is risen indeed.    As Jesus forgives us, we should forgive others.

  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   (Ephesians 4:32)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Lift up your heads, O gates! Our King, Jesus, may come in.

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.    

Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  (Psalm 24:7)

Has there been a king ever who humbled himself before his own people, and serving his own people rather than ruling over?   In my knowledge, there was none except one, whose name was Jesus Christ.  He was truly the king, but he did not rule over His own people.   He always loved and served His people.   Jesus said to His disciples:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

He revealed His mission on earth again to His disciples, and He loved His disciple till the end.  This is the love of Jesus Christ.   All of us, His children, are equally loved by Jesus because He is love.  

As the Scripture foretold, Jesus headed to Jerusalem to complete His ultimate mission on earth to save us by offering up His own body as the once-for-all sacrifice for all of us so that we have eternal life through Him.

On the way to Jerusalem for His final destination on earth, Jesus reached the town of Jericho.  Jericho was situated on the floor of the Jordan Valley, It (meaning, the ‘city of palm trees’) is a lush oasis surrounded by desert, watered by a spring that never runs dry.  Consequently, it has lush vegetation in an otherwise dry and arid area.  Most importantly, Jericho was the first city that the Israelites had to go through in order to get into the Promised Land.    As soon as they cross the Jordon River from east, the Israelites confronted with this strong and completely fortified city.  Rather than being in fear or fighting with their own strength, through faith, Joshua and his fellow Israelites came to God, received His command, and exactly followed the command.   The command was not an easy one to follow because it did not make sense to any right-minded human beings.   But in faith, they circled the wall of Jericho seven days as commanded.  Please imagine what actually happened:  There was the strong enemy waiting for the Israelites inside the fortified city protected by the strong wall, and the ex-slaves from Egypt were circling the wall once a day while blowing horns and being led by priests.   How absurd it was!  However, they faithfully followed the God’s command.  On the seventh day, they circled seven times, and they shouted together as commanded in faith.  Then the strong wall of Jericho suddenly fell down before shout of the Israelites, i.e., before the power of God.  The Israelites rushed into the city, and conquered.  It was a huge victory in faith for the Israelites.  Although it was huge, the victory was of this world.  On the other hand, Jesus Christ entered Jericho with His disciples for the victory of eternity by defeating the Satan once for all, which liberated all of His people from the bondage of all sins.   His entry to Jericho was the prelude of this final victory over the Satan, our enemy.

Jesus was on way to Jerusalem as prophesized, but Jesus had never forgotten of loving those who were suffering and in needs, as He always did.   As Jesus and His disciples were entering in Jericho, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.  When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.

This was a typical response of the people around Jesus.   How much contrast can we see between Jesus and the people around Him?    Jesus loves those who were in need like Bartimaeus, who was blind and a beggar, but the people yelled at him.   The beggar’s life was miserable, but  nobody cared for him.  They treated Bartimaeus as a nuisance, which just hindered their desired to listen to Jesus’ message and see His face.   The poor blind beggar Bartimaeus was kept from approaching Jesus to receive His mercy and love.     

But Bartimaeus only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The blind beggar Bartimaeus did not deterred by the crowd who discouraged him.   What can we learn from Bartimaeus?   Don’t be discouraged, fix eyes on Jesus, and continue approaching to Jesus.   Also we need to expect that sometimes we would get a rejection from the people around us as the blind beggar Bartimaeus did experience. 

When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

Yes, Jesus never ignores even such a small voice of the poor blind beggar who were being treated harshly by the people around him.    That’s why we are continue being encouraged, having hope with assurance in Jesus.   Like Bartimaeus,  just shout to Him and don’t look at others around us.   Fix eyes on Jesus, because mercies flow from Jesus.  Jesus, who dearly loves us, surely answers even the tiniest voice in our heart, which was vocalized through our mouth in prayer to Jesus.

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!”

This is how people usually respond.   As soon as Jesus paid attention to Bartimaeus, the people around  Bartimaeus suddenly changed.   They all became the friends of Bartimaeus.    Yes, the world is not trustworthy.   Except Jesus, nobody is faithful.  Jesus loved His disciples (and us) to the end.   Remember that His disciples fled when Jesus was captured, and Peter, who used to say that I would die with Jesus, disowned Jesus three times.  Then Jesus looked at Peter directly as Peter was disowning Jesus with his own mouth silently.   Jesus heart was filled with compassionating on Peter’s weakness in spirit and faith.   Later, the resurrected Jesus found Peter, and He never blamed Peter nor asked why.  He just showed His love to Peter while mending Peter’s guilty heart in shame before Jesus.

Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. (Mark 10:50)

“My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.”  (Mark 10:52a)

Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.   This is the reason why the crowd was always with Jesus.   But Jesus was a humble king and full of love and mercy.

After healing the blind man, Jesus left Jericho, and went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. As he came to the towns of Bethphage (meaning ‘place with young figs) and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived.   (Jesus revived Lazarus from death before.)    Then Jesus sent two disciples ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

Jesus always prepares ahead of His people before asking for His people to His will.   This is true to not just for the disciples, but all of us.   This is our faith and also assurance. 

So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said.  And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” 

And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.

They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.   Jesus was the King of kings, and the Lord of all lords on earth, but he was humbly sat on the colt.    At the time of Jesus, all kings rode on horses, to show off their power and majesty, but Jesus was totally opposite.   He humbly rode on a colt to share his meekness and care for His people.

The above took place to fulfill the prophesy foretold by Prophet Zachariah (Zac 9:9) that said,

“Tell the people of Jerusalem,
‘Look, your King is coming to you.
He is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.’”  (Matthew 21:5)

Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Hosanna! ”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Mark 11:9b-10)

0he entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.

And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

His disciples were in joy as they entered in Jerusalem with Jesus.  All around them shouted and praised Jesus.   They felt that finally their days came.   From now on, Jesus would rule, and they would occupy good positions with Jesus.   Yes, His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy, not for the glory to come to Jesus and them on earth.  But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about Him.

However, some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”

They were jealous and also in fear of Jesus.  They were the teachers respected by the people in Jerusalem.   They heard praises given to Jesus, which came from the same mouths of the same people.  Most importantly, they did not believe Jesus as the Messiah, although they had waited the Messiah for long time.  

He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”  (Luke 19:40)

Jesus responded with the magnitude of the joy of Heaven and earth about the fulfillment of all prophesies foretold before Him – His death and resurrections for all believers according to God’s salvation plan.  

As Jesus came closer to the Jerusalem Temple, he began weeping, and lamented,

“Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”  (Luke 1943-44)

Jesus foresaw the destruction of the Jerusalem and the Temple, and He wept.   Then as he entered the Temple and began to drive out the people selling animals for sacrifices.

He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)

Jesus cleaned up the Temple to prepare for the ultimate offering of Himself for all.  This very act directly challenged the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people, and they began planning how to kill Jesus as prophesized.   The humble King, Jesus, entered in Jerusalem, He cleaned the Temple, and He was ready for being sacrificed like a lamb before cross.  All prophecies about the Savior was about to be fulfilled.    Without knowing this, the people in Jerusalem were in joy.    Jesus wept, and His sorrow was not just for the physical destruction of the Temple to come but for the people in Jerusalem who did not know what was really happening and the Pharisees who were plotting to kill Jesus without knowing the truth.  Soon Jesus would be offered as a random for all people to purchase freedom from the bondage of all sins.
Today is Palm Sunday, which is the day that we all raise high our hands with Palm branches.  Our humble King and Savior entered in Jerusalem on a colt.   Today we open our hearts to receive Jesus as our King.   Some would be disturbed by our King, Jesus like the Pharisees who then plotted to kill Jesus.  But today we, His children, truly rejoice in Him, because our salvation came through the humble King, Jesus.    No other kings are like Jesus.   All kings before Jesus demanded, but Jesus, the truly King, gave -- lovingly gave out Himself for us.   Today, we praises His name.   We praise Jesus with all our hearts and minds and all our strength, because He was truly worthy of our praises.   Amen!

 Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD!
Praise the LORD!   (Psalm 150:6)