Reflections of the Pastor

Palm Sunday Meditation

Luke 19:37-40 “As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

One of the lessons our Scripture reading reveals is that every element of Jesus’ final days were carefully planned. Every detail had been given forethought and planning. Jesus knew exactly where the donkey he would need in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem would be, just as He knew that the owner of the donkey would not hesitate to let the disciples take this donkey.

Ever since the moment Peter confessed that “Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Jesus had begun to tell his disciples of his passion, death and resurrection. Sadly, they either took exception to it, or they simple passed it off by their lack of understanding.

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James and John witnessed a meeting of Jesus with Moses and Elijah concerning his departure from this earth.

Now as the moment gets close, Jesus would have us be aware that this moment didn’t sneak up on Him. It was the moment for which He came to earth as a Baby in Bethlehem’s manger.

The 13th chapter of John opens with this statement, “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father…”. As we read through those final hours Jesus spent with his closest friends, we don’t get any sense that He was unduly perturbed by the fact that he was living under the shadow of the cross. His primary concern during those final hours was to prepare his followers for the ordeal yet to come for them when He would no longer be with them.

How could Jesus maintain such poise as He approached the moment of rejection, suffering and death? He was able to maintain His poise because He knew that this was the Father’s will for His life. The Father’s will was not something Jesus wanted to avoid.

In John 4:34 Jesus said, “My food,” said Jesus,“is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Jesus knew that the Father’s will for Him had elements that would be difficult to assume. We see His greatest reaction in the Garden of Gethsemane where he passionately asks the Father to take this cup from him. Yet in the end, he surrenders His will to merge with the will of His Father.

How does God’s will appear to you in your life? Many Christians have a certain fear that God’s will is something that will make their life uncomfortable; that His will might deprive them of the life they wish to enjoy. I like to think that Christ models for us the correct and proper way for us to approach God’s will for our lives.

The first element is to acknowledge that God does have a plan and a purpose for everyone. Secondly, we will never attain the full measure of God’s blessing for us, outside of His will. I believe that Jesus implied that the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth happens when we desire that God’s will be done in our lives.

Thirdly, while there will be moments when God’s will may be difficult, even demanding for a person, it is never something we should dread. Jeremiah 29:11 really puts God’s will into a positive perspective that should attract every believer: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We should be able to handle those moments that are difficult if we have the assurance that everything is going to come out alright on the other side.

Maxie Dunnam made this pertinent affirmation saying: “God’s will will not take us where God’s grace will not sustain us.”

Jesus could go to the cross because He knew that His Father’s presence would be with Him and sustain Him, and that on the 3rd day, he would arise from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit in Him.

You and I can face God’s will in the same manner, because Jesus has prayed to the Father for the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit to become an indwelling presence in all our lives. That divine presence is given to lead us, to teach us and to empower us to be faithful in all God asks of us.

Written by Rev. Ivan L. Schwenn, 2020/04/05 (Palm Sunday)—