March 29, 2013
I want to thank Matt, our Sunday School Superintendent, for giving me the idea for this blog. Every Sunday, for our Sunday School opening, he gives a short meditation to all the adult students before we go to our classes. I will expand on his presentation – a subject especially appropriate for this time of year.
From Treasure to Trash to Treasure: that’s exactly how they treated Jesus during the last eight days of what we refer to as Holy Week.
Treasure – Why did they receive Jesus with such excitement when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt that first Palm Sunday so long ago? Why did they lay down palm branches and their very own cloaks, thrown down before Him to ride over as He descended the Mount of Olives? Why did they exclaim “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest….Blessed is the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:10 NKJV). It was because of prophecy.
Remember, even the common Jew was generally trained up in the ways of the Lord and was familiar with Old Testament scriptures, especially the major prophecies affecting the future of Israel. Matthew tells us in Matthew 21:4 & 5 (NKJV) the reason why Jesus sent His disciples to procure the donkey’s colt for Him to ride…
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell the daughter of Zion [Jerusalem], Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of an donkey.
But there is much more to the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 than just this one verse! Go on to verse 10 (NKJV):
And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim,
And the horse from Jerusalem;
The battle bow shall be cut off:
He shall speak peace to the nations;
And His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
And from the river to the ends of the earth.
Considering that the Jews had been under the heel of heathen conquerors for over six centuries, and for the 90 years subservient to the hated Romans; and considering that in several Old Testament prophecies God had promised that Israel would throw off the yoke of oppressors, and regain its former glory and dominion as in the time of David and Solomon; is it any wonder they got excited over Jesus riding into Jerusalem as the potential King of Israel on that Palm Sunday?
Zechariah 9:10 says enemy armies – chariots and horses – would be cut off from both Ephraim in the north and Jerusalem in the south – the whole country of Israel! The King of the Jews would speak peace to the nations, that is, He would be in such a powerful and dominant position, He would lay out the treaty terms! And the extent of this renewed Israelite kingdom? “…from sea to sea….” Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament explains it this way: “…from the sea to the other end of the world where sea begins again.” The prophecy goes on: “…from the river [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth,” in all directions! Israel would rule again!
Can you see why Jesus was received so exuberantly as He rode into Jerusalem obviously fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9? What a treaure!
Trash – A few days later it became apparent this man was not the military Messiah/King the Jews wanted. Probably many in the crowd outside of Pilate’s palace that morning had also been part of the exuberant multitude who had shouted “Hosanna…”on Palm Sunday. Now, stirred up by the priests and Pharisees, they were screaming, “Crucify Him, crucify Him…”! (Luke 23:21).
It is really either a love or hate relationship. You either accept who Jesus is or you reject Him. You either trust His sacrifice on Calvary to cover your sins or you depend on the value of your own works. You either love Him or push Him away as an enemy. There is really no middle ground. Jesus Himself put it this way in John 15:18-21 (NKJV):
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
How sad to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as Trash!
Treasure – But on the third day He rose from the grave. He defeated death, the devil, sin and hell! And He offers that same victory to those who put their faith – their lives – in Him! As Jesus said in John 10:10 (and as discussed in the March 15th blog), “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Could there be any greater treasure than eternal life (forever with the Lord and with believing loved ones) and the abundance of the fruit of the Spirit in this life now?
From Treasure to Trash to Treasure – Where is Jesus Christ in your life? Or maybe the question should be, “Where is your life in relation to Him?”