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What a Procession!

I don’t know, we just don’t seem to do processions like that any more. Every Palm Sunday, churches all around the world stage dramatic re-enactments of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, seated on a donkey (or two?), acclaimed by an adoring crowd. Somehow though we seem to lack the pizzaz of the original production. Could it be a matter of context? Could it be a difference in the consequences? Is it the change in cast members, especially the lead actor? Or all of the above?
Matthew’s version of the story certainly gives us plenty of material to sift through for clues, so my comments this week are necessarily at great length: 30 minutes. If you haven’t got that long to spend, here is a brief summary of my four main points…
1. The event was essentially a prophetic demonstration, in the tradition exemplified by Ezekiel’s acted-out messages for Israel.
2. It was staged for Jewish eyes and ears, to make an inescapable connection with the way Nathan promoted Solomon as David’s true successor, denying the claim of the usurper Adonijah, just as Jesus challenged the ungodly usurping powers of his day.
3. Matthew adds three very explicit scriptural references to Mark’s earlier account, filling out the deep background of Jesus’ messianic claim. (cf Is.62:10ff, Zech.9:9 and Ps.118)
4. The textual context before and after Matthew’s account of this event emphasizes the radical challenge made to the oppressive power structures of our world by Jesus’ Servant model of leadership.

So there you are, you don’t need to listen to me after all … Or maybe you just might want to, by following this link…
Let me know what you think!

Howard Pilgrim

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