Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday is traditionally very long. The events leading from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to his burial were of striking importance. This reading, Matthew 26-27, is long and weighty. In just a few days we walk with the disciples from Jesus’ celebratory dinner with friends to his arrest, his conviction, his torture, and his death. The disciples go from an attitude full of hope to one of despair, as they see no way that Jesus can usher in the Messianic kingdom they expect.
What is especially striking is that Jesus’ statements about being raised from the dead come right before his statements about Peter denying him. Peter certainly remembered the prophecy that he would deny Jesus. However, amazingly, he doesn’t have any expectation that Jesus will rise from the dead.
All our own expectations tend to trump the decree of God. What Jesus has said seems to matter relatively little to most of us, most of the time. We go about our own agendas. We ignore what God has shown us through the person and work of Jesus, God the Son. We trust our spirit, not the Holy Spirit. All this can show us that we are, very much as Jesus was at the end of this passage, dead. We are dead to the truth, dead to the past, dead to the present, and dead to the future. We are unaware of reality. We have no reasonable expectation of anything. We are truly dead.
What do we need then? Do we need another reminder of Jesus’ plan? No, on the contrary, we need what we await on Easter Sunday. We need resurrection. That is what the Lord has in store for all who believe. And as we are believing on Jesus, God the Son, who has died for us, we can live and even die in the certain hope of the resurrection. This is what the Christian life is all about. It’s a hope for the future, it’s a resurrection faith. Out of the deadness of our own sin and inability, we find the life of Jesus’ resurrection. That is the hope we have. It’s the hope that Jesus has delivered to his people.
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