Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:1-5)
“He” is Jesus Christ. About two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ came to this world. The world was getting darker and darker without knowing God, the Creator, and people used to live as they liked. People did not give back what belonged to God, but they went their ways while often blaming God when the world became bitter.
About two thousand years ago, in the land of Judah, there was bitterness among the Jews, which came from the Romans, who conquered their country and ruled over them. Indeed, the Romans were neither benevolent nor generous to the Jewish people. The Romans were harsh to the Jews as the conqueror. The worldly Roman ruler made the Jews greatly suffer, and the Jews badly wanted to get out of the bitterness.
Then there was a voice in the wilderness.
“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2)
People heard the voice of John the Baptist. The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’” (Matthew 3:3b, Isaiah 40:3)
People from Jerusalem and all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. The people got some comfort and peace. Then John the Baptist openly talked about,
“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (John 1:11)
John the Baptist testified for Jesus to come. Indeed, Jesus came to John the Baptist, but Jesus humbly asked for John to baptize him. John refused while saying, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you, so why are you coming to me?” However, Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. Jesus obediently followed God’s will with humility, which greatly pleased God, the Father. What a beautiful relationship between God, the Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ!
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said,
“This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (John 1:17b)
Then Jesus started His ministry. He called twelve disciples, and Jesus ministered them for three years. Wherever Jesus went, Jesus preached the kingdom of God and gave much-needed peace and comfort to people who the Romans oppressed. Jesus’ disciples were there, and people followed Jesus. Jesus kept feeding them spiritually and even physically also.
They followed Jesus all day long, and Jesus felt compassion for them because there did not eat. Jesus’ disciples brought small boy’s food prepared by his mother – five fish and two pieces of bread, which was not even enough for one single adult man. However, Jesus made the people following Him sit down and gave thanks to God. Then Jesus distributed the small food by the hands of His disciples. All ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. There were 5,00 men in addition to all the women, boys, and girls.
Our God is God of plenty, who gives lavishly without lacking. Jesus loved the people who followed Jesus, and the people got blessed with Jesus’ love. Yes, Jesus was love, and He taught God’s love wherever He went. And people received God’s love, peace, and comfort. The people truly got rest in Him and forgot the world’s pain. That was not all. Jesus brought the most precious gift of all – salvation to the people who followed Jesus.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3;16-17)
However, bringing salvation to the world was not cheap, which costed Jesus Christ on the cross. The wage of sins is death, and Jesus paid the wage on the cross. We all have experienced the power of sins, which divide the very fabric of ourselves and choke us in isolation and fear. After sinning in fear of God, our first man and woman hid from God, whom they used to love so much. Since then, sins are with us, and they did not leave us. Instead, they so tightly cling to us and lure us again and again to the world. Then they keep building a barrier higher and higher between God and us so that we can no longer with God, our Ever-Loving Father.
Without exception, we all committed sins. In this world, we are living with sins, and some sins might look innocent, such as a small lie, but before God, who has no darkness at all, even such a small sin in our eyes casts an ugly dark shadow. Indeed, both our small lie and a criminal’s murder equally cast ugly dark shadows. In other words, all sins manifest before God as equally condemning by casting dark shadows. Thus, a sin, whether it is small or truly gruesomely criminal to our eyes, equally separates us from God because the light of God and the sin’s darkness cannot coexist. We cannot live without God. Indeed, God created us in His image. Our eternal separation from God, thus, means our eternally condemning death. Yes, we need our savior.
By the way, knowing the above truth is not enough. The taste of worldly sins is so seductive. Sooner than later, it quickly sways us from God while drowning in the world in the total separation from our Eternal Ever-Loving Father.
As a result, many are living in sins. It looks normal, but it is not. The truth of condemning sins will change forever, and there will be a day that the truth will prevail. When we stand before God’s judgment seat, there will be no more excuse except directly confronting the eternal condemnation. God loved us, and to prevent our death in sins’ eternal condemnation, God gave us Jesus Christ and let Jesus Christ take all our sins for us. The wage of sins is death, but Jesus Christ died on the cross for us to pay the wage of all our sins.
Yes, Jesus Christ had no sin at all, but Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice. He paid all our sins, which we have committed, and sadly we will commit in the future by chasing down the world again while forgetting God’s love. It is truly heartbreakingly sad. It tells our sinfulness that we cannot take off as long as we live on earth, but it is also an eternal assurance. God will unconditionally love us and forgive all our sins now and even into the future. In other words, no matter what will happen in our lives, Our God’s love toward us will never change. Thus, we can come back to Our Ever-Loving Father again and again regardless of our failure before God. Indeed, God is love, and God is always waiting for us with wide-open arms. As soon as we return to Him, He welcomes us and puts us in His bosom filled with love, peace, and heavenly comfort. Therefore, let’s not forget this. To the loving truth of God, we have to come back again and again with a contrite and repenting heart.
After the three years of His ministry on earth, Jesus knew the time had come. Even for Jesus, who was both a perfect God and a perfect human, it was not easy because He exactly knew how people would mock, torture, and crucify Him to a gruesome death on a cross.
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! (John 12;27)
However, Jesus knew. He came into this world for the very reason – to be the perfect sacrificial lamb of God. However, people did not know this truth. The disciples who were with Jesus for three years, day and night, did not know the truth. The non-disciples had absolutely no understanding. As the time came, Jesus took His disciples and came to Jerusalem, where He will be sacrificed as the perfect sacrificial lamb of God for all.
By that time, Jesus was quite famous among the Jews. Jesus raised Lazarus after three days in the tomb. When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.
However, it was not good news to the leading priests. They were zealous of Jesus, and they felt a serious threat. People liked Jesus more than them, which was not acceptable. In their eyes, they were the guardians of God and God’s Law without the true knowledge of the truth about sins and God’s salvation plan. If they knew this truth, they would have had chosen a completely different course of action. Instead, they decided to kill Jesus and Lazarus, too. Because of Lazarus, many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. What a worldly decision! It is also a warning sign that anyone can potentially be like the leading priests and hurt God and His people while doing God’s work, if not fully knowing the truth of God’s love and His salvation plan.
Didn’t Jesus know what was happening among the leading priests? Jesus exactly knew. Even so, being obediently following God’s will, Jesus continued the eternal salvation plan as set by God to completing our salvation on the cross.
The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet Jesus. The large crowd gathered around Jesus because they suffered from Romans. They wanted to send out the Romans from their land, who conquered and ruled over them. They waited for Messiah who would come to liberate them from the Romans. Finally, they found their Messiah, who was Jesus. Jesus was the greatest prophet whom they knew. Jesus always comforted their hearts and performed many miracles. Jesus fed 5000 men and all the women and children and even raised Lazarus from the dead. They questioned, “who would be a more powerful prophet than Jesus, and who else be Messiah other than Jesus?”
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
Hail to the King of Israel!” (John 12:13b)
They believed the time came that their Messiah liberated them from Roman’s harsh ruling. They were in joy without knowing the truth of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem.
The disciples prepared a donkey for Jesus as Jesus instructed them. Jesus humbly rode on the donkey although He was the King of kings and the Lord of lords to fulfill the prophecy that said:
“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
Riding on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:15)
Surely, Jesus was the humble King on a donkey who served His people with love and compassion, while a worldly tyrant ruled over his people riding on a mighty horse led by a great army of soldiers. In front of Jesus, His disciples were walking while leading the young donkey on which Jesus rode. It was not a triumphant entry to Jerusalem by any means, but people flocked.
Most spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him kept shouting.
The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. And the crowds replied,
“It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11b)
Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign, which fully occupied the people’s minds.
None. Nobody understood at that time that the scene was the fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, the disciples remembered what had happened. They realized that the prophecy had been written about Jesus.
However, Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem and the shouts of people in Jerusalem greatly troubled the Pharisees. They got together and said to each other,
“There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!” (John 12:19b)
Yes, they professed by their own lips. They could not block the truth. In fact, the truth always prevails. Although the darkness seems to gain to prevail, soon we will see it no more. The truth belongs to God, Our Ever-Lasting, Ever-Loving Father. Our God gave the One and Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to forgive all our sins and give us His salvation to make us forever His children.
Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem was welcome news to the people who waited for the earthly Messiah to liberate them from the Romans. However, Jesus was the eternal and ever-lasting Messiah to liberate them from the eternal condemnation. They put their garment before Jesus on the donkey while waiting to see Jesus would bring liberation from Romans, but Jesus brought the ever-lasting peace and salvation by being crucified on the cross in His love. Yes, nobody understood this truth at that time, but Jesus did it all faithfully and wholly, following God’s will for our salvation.
On this year’s Palm Sunday, we welcome Jesus and asking Him to get into our lives as the Messiah who became our perpetual sacrifice for all our sins once for all. Jesus offered Himself for us, and He obediently entered Jerusalem. It was so difficult even to Jesus Christ as He prayed to God:
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42)
But Jesus overcame in His absolute obedience to God’s will, and God let it happened. God’s love was greater than His own Son, Jesus Christ, and most of all, bigger than all our sins. Jesus’ obedience even to the death on the cross was the very manifestation of God’s love toward us.
Again, what should we do on this year’s Palm Sunday? We open our hearts widely and welcome Jesus in our hearts as our eternal Messiah, and followed the footsteps of the humblest King. Then we give thanks always to God who gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And praise the Son, Jesus Christ, who entered Jerusalem to be our eternal sacrificial lamb of God. Let’s join together in one voice and shout, “Hosanna. Hosanna to the King, Our Lord, Jesus Christ!”
“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9b)