Making Jesus known (07-04-22)
A Bible Reading: Luke 19. 28 – 31, 35 - 40 Jesus continued towards Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” …They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
We are rapidly approaching Holy Week and Easter, the high point of the Christian year. Festival times, such as Christmas, Easter, Harvest, give us ideal opportunities to make Jesus known in our communities through special events and services. These occasions build naturally on the relationships and connections that we already have within the community.
Last week, we were able to share the story of Good Friday in dramatic form that the children could readily understand through an Open the Book assembly in Walgrave School, a simple way of making Jesus known to our local children. This Sunday, our Anglican congregations will share worship with Walgrave Baptist Church as we celebrate the Palm Sunday procession into Jerusalem. Before the service, we will gather at the school for a Walk of Witness to the Baptist Church, pausing at intervals along the route to read from the Bible, sing and pray, another simple way of making Jesus known in our local community.
Two thousand years ago Jerusalem was busy preparing for the Passover celebrations and its annual influx of visitors. Passover was a special celebration initiated by God himself to remember Israel’s deliverance from Egypt in the time of Moses and to remind the people of what God had done. By this time Jesus was already well known. Everyone coming to Jerusalem for Passover feast had heard of him, and the popular mood was favourable towards him at this point in the week.
As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, he was intentionally fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy: “See your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding in a donkey.” (Zech 9. 9) The fact that this declaration coincided with Passover also made known Jesus’ true identity as Messiah and King, the one who would bring everlasting salvation not only to the Israelites but also to all of humankind. This is the Jesus that the disciples and the crowd welcomed. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road and went ahead, waving palm branches and shouting praises: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Even in the face of criticism, these people were keen to make Jesus known. It was impossible to keep them quiet. Jesus himself commented: “If they keep quiet, the very stones will cry out.” And for the past two thousand years, people have continued to make Jesus known, undaunted by any opposition along the way.
And as we approach Holy Week, we too can join in. Why not invite someone to the joint service on Palm Sunday at the Baptist Church or bring a family to Messy Easter at Walgrave church on Good Friday, or invite a friend or neighbour to one of our Easter day services across the benefice? Looking ahead, there will be special services to invite people to over the Jubilee weekend, reflecting on the strong faith that has sustained the Queen over the 70 years of her reign. And then in July, we will have the Messy Church tent at Groove on the Green. Prayerfully consider where you can join in, play your part, and help to make Jesus known across our villages.
Missional God, who sent the disciples out to proclaim the kingdom, give us opportunities to make Jesus known and to share his story with those around us. Amen.
You are the King of glory by Mavis Ford