What Jesus says about religion | Chapel Hill Online | Gig Harbor
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When people hear the name “Jesus” they often picture a man who was always kind, mild-mannered, who came to create a religion. That’s very much the opposite of the Jesus portrayed in the Bible. This Jesus was brave, courageous, and in your face. And when he was angry, it was at the religious people! Join Pastor Mark as we learn what Jesus says about religion.
1. Pastor Mark shared that COVID has been an opportunity for reflection, reaffirmation and rebuilding. As you look back over this year, what are some of the ways that this year has challenged or affirmed your worship practices?
2. Read Luke 19:28-40. What do we learn about Jesus in this passage?
3. Who do you identify with most in this passage and why? The religious folk? Or Jesus?
4. We are called to love and care for those not like us. Who is someone you can invite to church this Easter who wouldn’t typically be here?
We’d love to meet you! Come visit us in-person in Gig Harbor, or online at chapelhillpc.org
My birthplace was Martinez, California and I remember well the road trips we used to take from Yakima to visit my grandparents there. One of the high points on those trips was riding Shorty. Shorty was a Shetland pony that Grandpa Bert borrowed for my sister and me to ride. (Truth be told, Shorty could have been named Snotty; he was actually mean.) But he was the right size for a couple of kids and we always felt kind of noble sitting on top of him.
But how about an ADULT sitting on a pony? Not so noble, right?! If you wanted to make a gallant entry into town…you’d ride a warhorse! But trotting in on a pony… not exactly awe-inspiring. At least, you wouldn’t think so…until you read today’s story about Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
[Then Jesus] …went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem…[And his disciples untied a colt and] brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
In the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, stands a statue of Alexander the Great and his beloved war horse, Bucephalus. Bucephalus was huge with a massive head, a beautiful black coat and a single blue eye. No one but Alexander could ride him and together, they struck terror in the hearts of his enemies. Bucephalus was the sort of steed a king needs to make his triumphant entry into a city. Not this. This doesn’t command respect. This doesn’t inspire awe.
But on that Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt…masses of his followers gathered around him and shouted in praise: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Other gospels tell us they laid palm branches before him, an honor that was usually reserved for a conquering king.
When I travel to Israel, I often see grown men riding donkeys. But I’ve never felt inspired to remove my jacket and throw it on the ground in front of him. So…what’s the deal in this story? Well…the deal is…a prophet named Zechariah. 500 years earlier, he made predictions about the coming of the Messiah. Here’s one of them in chapter 9:9:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Every Jewish child would have been taught this prophecy about Messiah riding into town on a colt. Couple that with the amazing miracles Jesus had performed…and his powerful teaching…and suddenly, it all made sense! For three years, the people followed Jesus, wondering, pointing, whispering: “Is he the one? Is he the Messiah? He MUST be! Who does things like this EXCEPT the Messiah?”
Problem is…every time someone said that…what did Jesus say? “SHHHHHHH! DON’T tell anyone! Keep it to yourself!” Jesus would heal a guy paralyzed for life. He jumps up and wants to shout it to the world. But Jesus says, “Shhhh…not yet.” Jesus gives sight to a man blind from birth. “Shh…don’t tell anyone. Not yet.” Jesus heals a leper and returns him to society. He wants to scream it from the mountaintop. But Jesus says, “Shhhh…NOT YET. For three years, Jesus did this: (SHHHH)
But then…then Jesus came riding down the Mount of Olives on a donkey…a CLEAR Messianic declaration…and this time…it wasn’t Jesus saying, “Shhhh!” Listen to the next part of the story.
And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” …read the rest at chapelhillpc.org/listen