Tuesday, March 31st

Tuesday, March 31st

So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. ”Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” Luke 19:35-38

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, "Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Matthew 23:37-39

Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the Lord. These gates lead to the presence of the Lord, and the godly enter there. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Psalm 118:19-26A

Pastor Ben recently finished a series called, "Unexpected." As Jesus carried out his ministry on earth he often came face to face with the religious establishment and in contrast to them and their religious system, what Jesus did and said was quite "unexpected." Their response to Jesus was always to reject and oppose him. The image of a mother hen and her chicks in the Matthew passage above reveals our Lord's great desire to gather his people together in order to care for them, protect them, and lead them. The words, "but you wouldn't let me" tell it all. They chose their religious system over the Lord himself, resulting in Jesus' words, "your house is abondoned and desolate." In other words, the temple, center for the practice of their "empty" religious system, is "empty" of the Lord's presence. The Matthew passage ends with a reference to the triumphal entry which brings us to the Luke passage from Pastor Ben's message. The incident recorded here, called the triumphal entry by many, is a beautiful and worshipful response to Jesus by his followers as he comes down from the Mount of Olives towards the gates of Jerusalem. It stands in stark contrast to the response to Christ of the overall religious establishment as captured in the words of John 1:11, "He came to his own, and those who were his own did not receive him."

This brings us to Psalm 118 above. The Psalm takes the terminology of the triumphal entry where Christ is the one who comes in the name of the Lord and enters the gates of Jerusalem and uses it for describing the good response of God's people to the Lord's presence. Notice the following phrases: "open the gates where the righteous enter;" "the gates lead to the presence of the Lord, and the godly enter there;" and "bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord." This kind of spiritual application will be our focus throughout the rest of the week. In other words in the light of Christ's triumphal entry we will look at the spiritual triumphal entry regarding his presence that God calls his people to. We become the ones who enter a spiritual gate (prayer) where we enter into the deep and profound awareness of his presence. It can then be said of us, "Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord."

Lord, teach me the spritual response of "entering." Help my praying to become less about me and more about you so that it really is "in the name of the Lord" that I "come" into your presence. Help me first and foremost to be in your presence for your sake because I exist for you, Lord, and not you for me.

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