Monday, March 30, 2015

Holy Week Morning Devotional: Hindsight is 20:20

John 12:9-19

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus4 was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, owhom he had raised from the dead. 10 pSo the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because qon account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
The Triumphal Entry
12 The next day rthe large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of spalm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, t“Hosanna! Blessed is uhe who comes in the name of the Lord, even vthe King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15    w“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
       behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
16 xHis disciples did not understand these things at first, but ywhen Jesus was glorified, then zthey remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 aThe crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him bwas that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, c“You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, dthe world has gone after him.” [1]

Hindsight is 20:20

Yesterday, I preached about the irony of Palm Sunday. The Sunday lectionary passage was Mark's account of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This morning's daily lectionary passage is the account of the same story from the gospel of John. In Mark, the Gospel writer doesn't say much about what the crowd does next and he doesn't say much about what's going on in the disciples' heads either. But John - who is more deeply theological - gives us a little bit of reflection in retrospect. 

In verse 16 of the passage we just read, John says, "His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him." The disciples didn't get what was going on during what we now refer to as "the Passion." Jesus had been clueing them in all along, but they just weren't understanding it. John tells us that the did finally get it. It wasn't until the very final piece of the puzzle - the glorification of Jesus - was put into place that they understood. 

It's important for us to remember the shadow on the palms through holy week. Palm Sunday isn't the end of Lent. It's the beginning of Holy Week, and there are some dark nights in Holy Week. We need to keep looking forward without getting stuck on just the days that we like or are comfortable with. On the other hand, neither can we forget the past. It is often upon reflection later on that we can see what God was actually working in those inexplicable moments in our lives. Holy Week isn't just the path leading up to Easter, it's the culmination of everything that had happened throughout Jesus' life and arguably in human history. 

Being stuck on today isn't healthy. We have to remember that God will continue to move in the future in ways we won't always understand and we have to remember that God has moved in the past in ways that weren't clear at the time. We have to remember that God's movement today is founded on God's movement yesterday and forms the foundation for God's movement tomorrow. 

This week offers us a chance to reflect on the whole thread. It pulls together all the pieces of Jesus' life for us in a way that we can reflect on the meaning and the importance of it. Let this week be a time of reflection on what God is doing, has done, and will do.

4 Greek he
o ch. 11:44
p [Luke 16:31]
q ver. 18; ch. 11:45
r For ver. 12–15, see Matt. 21:4–9; Mark 11:7–10; Luke 19:35–38
s [Rev. 7:9]
t Ps. 118:25, 26
u [ch. 5:43]
v See ch. 1:49
w Cited from Zech. 9:9
x [ch. 13:7]; See Mark 9:32
y ver. 23; See ch. 7:39
z ch. 2:22
a [Luke 19:37]
b ver. 9–11
c ch. 11:47
d [ch. 3:26]
[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 12:9–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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