“And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:10-11 CEB
The feeling was always electric. The closer we got to the start time the more energy seemed to be coursing through the audience. Anticipation and excitement are the best words for the atmosphere in the arena. Everyone was ready: men and women, boys and girls, people of all ages were ready. Then it happened. The lights dimmed and the band began to play the big number. As the band played more loudly and intensely the performers began to file into the arena in beautiful and bright colored clothing. Following them were the animals—all kinds of animals. This was my favorite part of the whole event—the entrance. The first time I ever saw the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus I could hardly take it all in. The entrance was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The sights and sounds, the amazing performers, and the exotic animals. It truly was an amazing experience. Every time I have been to the circus, since I was a kid, I absolutely loved the opening number and the grand entrance of all the performers, acts, and animals.
I am sure there were no similarities to what is sometimes referred to as the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This is what we know as Palm Sunday because of the Gospel accounts telling of the use of palms to cover the road and being waved as Jesus entered the city. The only similarity between Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem and the opening of the circus would have been the excitement. Tens of thousands of people were gathering in Jerusalem for the annual Passover Festival. The city of Jerusalem was said to have swelled to many times its normal size with all of the pilgrims coming to celebrate the Passover together. In the midst of all this activity and crowds is Jesus. Jesus had been gathering large crowds all on his own and now more people are there to see him. His reputation as a prophet, teacher and healer was well known. There was a huge buzz about Jesus being in town. When he arrives in town his entrance was nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps, it was miraculous for reasons the crowd could not see.
Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem was miraculous simply for who he was, not anything he had done. On his way into Jerusalem he heals two blind men—restores their sight immediately. Many would have thought it was for these miraculous healings that Jesus was welcomed so heartily. However, he had done these things in every city and crowds formed there. The reason for the excitement this time was that everything was coming together at once. Jesus, the Messiah, was coming to Jerusalem—the center of Jewish religious activity—for the highest Holy day of the year. Whenever a prophet came into town it was a big deal. The people recognized him as a prophet. But Jesus was so much more—he was the Messiah, the Christ, God-incarnate. It was who Jesus was that was miraculous, not anything he had done. The people in Jerusalem didn’t know what Jesus would do in just a few short days. Jesus would turn everything upside down that Passover. Jesus would give new meaning to the sacrifice of the Lamb and the mercy of God. It is the fact that the Messiah rode into town on a borrowed donkey that makes his entrance miraculous. The demonstration of Jesus’ miraculous love was about to be displayed and the people did not know.
Jesus enters into our lives in miraculous ways each and every day. Where is Jesus working and present in your faith journey? Like the blind men in Matthew 20, are you shouting out for Jesus to have mercy on you? Jesus can make a miraculous entrance into our life each day and in every moment when we recognize that He is the Messiah, our Savior, and the Lord of our life. Jesus does this because of who He is and who you are to Him. You are a child of God and a person of great worth. Jesus is ready and willing to do miraculous things in your life—will you let him in?
This Sunday we continue our message series for Lent entitled “Miraculous.” We will look at Jesus’ miraculous entrance into Jerusalem. Jesus enters the life of all those who believe each and every day. We can choose to live a miraculous life in Jesus Christ. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 in worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!