I love Holy Week. I think the significance of it is deeply rooted in my upbringing. To me, it is THE most important week of the year, and we so often miss it. It is the culmination of the hope that we have. It’s where the JOY of being a christian was birthed…..
Anyway…. I had one of those rare ah.hah moments this past week. Perhaps you are all a little more astute than me with your bible knowledge. If so, bear with me!
So… a few years ago I did some speaking around Easter time and talked about Palm Sunday and the Garden of Gethsemane (sorry for my spelling….) One of the things that really struck me as I was preparring was the timing of Lazarus being raised from the dead (John 11) and then Palm Sunday…. The branches that are referred to were common palm branches in biblical days. (more to come on that…) Only in John do we get this little bit…
John 12:17 – 17 Now the crowd that was him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Soak this in…. when Jesus raised Lazarus, which wasn’t too much before this,did he know that the crowd that had gathered for his passing would go and tell others? It was that same crowd that stirred people to come see him here. And it was partially because of that crowd that the Pharisees said… enough…” Jesus knew what was coming when he raised Lazarus… And yet it was all to fulfill the plans of his father. Prophecy that was predicted in the Old Testament.
So…. when we are stuck at “why God” this might be a good story to come back to… Why let him die and raise him…. Why did Jesus weep? He was fully man and fully God…. Hard to even imagine!
BUT…. that isn’t even where I was moved at this week (Although I love sitting there for a bit!) Palms Branches….
You see, I was at the Beth Moore James study and she mentioned Revelation 7….
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
Do you see the similarities????
One account from Matthew
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King from John
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”e]”>[e]
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”f]”>[f]
The triumphant entry foretold in the OT, the crowds, the palm branches and singing….
And in Revelation – the great multitues will have palm branches and be singing. Hmmm…..
My thoughts just stopped there. Sometimes God just has this way of showing up and saying…. “See Jen… I got this. It’s all a part of a much bigger plan.” And that’s just what he did. He knocked on my heart and spoke to my spirit in such a direct way. What we read at times as just a “nice” story in the bible has so much significance to him.
Have you ever watched your kids get hurt and it seemed like things were moving in slow motion. Like you just thought – hmmm…. someone is going to get hurt doing that, and then it happened and there was nothing you could do to stop it. I imagine that is how it is with God alot. He knows every hair on our head. He kenw when Jesus waited and then rose Lazarus that the crowd would flap their mouths and spread rumors, and that others would want to see Jesus that raised Lazarus (And I’m guessing that they were hoping to get a peek at the man raised from the dead as well! Wouldn’t you?)
So if that was his plan then, you know he has something really cool in mind for the second coming and how that all fits together. Palm Branches and singing sounds like an awesome start to me.
“Father God, I praise you for how you knit this all together so beautifully, and for how you reveal yourself to us. As we seek to know and understand you more, we’re so excited to grow in our understanding of you. How cool…. God, please continue to reveal to us nuggets in your truth that will make us see things in new and different ways.”