Prepare Ye the Way!

Published March 31, 2015 by

Palm Sundayjerusalem

Why did Jesus go to Jerusalem–to certain death?  Why would anyone knowingly walk toward death with life still so sweet and strong?  And why did He not only walk right into their hands, but persistently agitate the hornets’ nest of power and politics?  Surely His work wasn’t done!

The three years of His ministry had proved to Him that not even His closest companions had gained the true import of His ministry. To flee into obscurity now, before the threat of Rome, would be to lose whatever had been gained in those three years. It would mean oblivion for the revelation which was His own particular gift to the world.*

If Jesus turned away from Jerusalem and disappeared into the countryside, then it was all for nothing. If Jesus lived, then His message would die–stillborn.  If Jesus died, then His message would live and bear fruit through the generations.   Jesus the man could not turn His back on His divine purpose in being.  He must make one final attempt to pierce the resistance of the ruling elite and transform Judaism from the letter of the law to the spirit of the law under God’s direction.

He entered Jerusalem not to fulfill His human will as Jesus, but His divine purpose as Christ.*

We are told that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding upon the colt of a donkey to an enthusiastic welcome.  The people waved palms and cast garments upon the road before Him shouting Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! In spite of their desire for Jesus to lead them as their conquering warrior king,  He turned aside to complete His own mission.

How likely is it that the Romans would actually ignore a large crowd leading their ‘King’ into Jerusalem for the Passover Celebrations?  The Romans controlled Jerusalem through their puppet ruler with their own troops and only used crucifixion for two types of offenders: political prisoners and certain slaves, in both cases to prevent revolts.

Why did Jesus need to die?  I see three primary reasons, though each has sub-categories.

1.  Jesus challenged the purity laws, social structure and breached priestly authority.

2.  The Jewish hierarchy feared the Roman’s vengeance against perceived threats.

3.  The proof of His promise of eternal life in God.

Jesus had lived and demonstrated God’s will through the body of His teachings and healing work.  By acceding to God’s will, Jesus demonstrated absolute Faith in God’s promise of eternal life and His love for each of us.  The cross became the point at which Jesus the man was transformed to the fully realized Christ.  It was not an end, but the fulfillment of His.

Rev. Claudia Naylor

The Week That Changed the World, by E. Wilson*                                                                  Luke 19:38**


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