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“The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem” by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan. This week, Friday


“The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem” by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan. This week, Friday

Good Friday is the most difficult day of Passion Week. Borg and Crossan state, “The day of Jesus’s crucifixion is the most solemn day of the Christian year. In Greek Christianity, it is called ‘the Holy and Great Friday,’ in Romance languages, ‘Holy Friday,’ and in German, ‘Sorrowful Friday.’

In the English-speaking world, it is ‘Good Friday.’ Good may have been derived from ‘God’s” Friday.

Either way, Jesus’ journey turned treacherous and acutely painful in these final hours leading to his death.

According to some Scripture, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse and hanged himself early Friday morning. Others have him receiving a horrible death. Either way, to some people, Judas did what he was to do…kind of setting Jesus up to fulfill his destiny.

Meanwhile, before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus had endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. After multiple unlawful trials, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment known at the time.

Crucifixion was a Roman form of punishment to discourage dissent.

Before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced his head with a crown of thorns. Then Jesus carried his own crossbar to Calvary where, again, he was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the wooden post that was a permanent reminder of what could happen if you went against Roman law. That crossbar made the cross as we know it when tied to the post.

How many times have we been humiliated before friends and family…maybe at work or school? What did you do when that happened to you?
Do you think you could have taken it with little or no response as Jesus did?

In the other Gospels, it is stated that Jesus spoke seven final statements from the cross. According to Mark, which if you recall, is the Gospel we are studying, at 3 o’clock, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Then, Jesus breathed his last breath and died.

Many people, some of us even in our earlier years, were distressed upon hearing these words. We thought God did leave him.

Even if Jesus did say these words, and all the others, remember, this is a physical body leaving the mortal plane. Not the SPIRIT.

However, Syrian scholar, George Lamsa translates it this way, “My God, my God, for this was I kept!” This was his purpose. He was to triumph over death to show that our true being was immortal, in the image and likeness of God.
What are your thoughts on that?

At this time, the Temple curtain, which separated the Holy of Holies from the sanctuary, was torn in two. Symbolically, this is a judgment upon the temple authorities who colluded with the Romans against Jesus.

More importantly, it also means now access to God is open. Jesus mediated access to God apart from the Temple. This is our 1st Principle, that God is everywhere, for everyone.

According to Mark, only women attended the crucifixion…. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and another named Salome. Another reminder that the disciples had abandoned Jesus.

Jesus and early Christianity gave women an identity and status they had not experienced since the time of matriarchal societies.

By 6 p.m. Friday evening, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.

Because Unity recognizes that every individual is the Christ in potential expression, fully One with the infinite wisdom of God, we don’t really have official dogma that must be believed. Rather, we affirm universal spiritual principles, and affirm the right and ability of each person to understand scripture—or anything else, for that matter—in terms of how those spiritual principles express.

One of those principles is that the true nature of every person is divine. We are not humans trying to become spiritual. We are spiritual beings engaged in a human experience through which we can bring more of the Nature of God into tangible expression.

If we are divine, then we are eternal; birth and death are mortal illusions allowing us to pass into and out of human experiences. We are expressing God as us, each individually, all the while connected as One.

So, it is not entirely accurate to say that Jesus “died” and was returned to life. He moved through the illusion of death and, by virtue of his ability to fully express his Christ Self, he was able to demonstrate to his followers that death was nothing to fear, because it had no reality.

Metaphysically, the cross represents a point at which our forward spiritual progress (the upright post) is held back by resistance from our attachment to the things of this world (the cross bar)

The crucifixion symbolizes the crossing out of all that belongs to the mortal consciousness in order that the way may be made for the coming forth of the Christ self.

Most of us grew up listening Easter after Easter, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, all with the color of traditional Christianity. It is up to each of us to personally choose what we wish to believe about the life of Jesus. And that includes the virgin birth to the ‘death and resurrection.’

When we look at the story given to us, remember, until the ’trials’ were ended with Jesus being found guilty and sentenced to death, none of his followers were witness to any proceedings. So how do we know what happened?

Once the trials were concluded and the people were incited to crucifixion, Jesus’ fate was set. And if we believe that this is what Jesus was to do, to show us eternal life, then it is meant to be.

What, according to Unity’s belief tells us, that Traditional Christianity got wrong, probably among many other things, is that of Jesus dying for our sins. There was no redemptive atonement here. We didn’t need a substitute for God to forgive our sins.

There is nothing to forgive as far as God is concerned. We are perfect. We may have ‘missed the mark,’ as in archery, which is what the word sin means. But we are not cursed, we are blessed, from birth on and even before birth.

That forgiveness thing is a human thing on one level and a spiritual thing on another.
Jesus died to bring truth to us…that we are Spiritual beings and that we do not die. We are SPIRIT.


The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem”. This week, Wednesday & Thursday.


The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem”. This week, Wednesday & Thursday.

Great to be back with you all this morning. We are traveling along with our Way-Shower, Jesus as he makes his way through Holy Week. We are through Palm Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

The New Testament doesn’t have any record of what the Jesus did on the Wednesday of Passion Week. Scholars speculate that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of Passover.

Remember, just a short time previously, Jesus had revealed to the disciples, and the world, that he had power over death by raising Lazarus from the grave. After seeing this incredible miracle, many people in Bethany believed that Jesus was the Son of God and put their faith in him. Also, in Bethany just a few nights earlier, in the house of Simon the leper, an unnamed woman anointed Jesus with expensive oil, to the disbelief of the apostles, especially Judas.

Here, she was expressing her love of Jesus by anointing him with expensive oil while Jesus lives. She understood the teachings of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Mark considers her the first believer, the first Christian.
And, in contrast, Judas was preparing to betray him for 30 pieces of silver.

The day is sometimes called “Spy Wednesday” since some thought of it as the day Judas conspired with local authorities to betray Jesus, and not on Tuesday as others believed.

Holy Week takes a somber turn on Thursday, sometimes referred to as Maundy Thursday. It is full of drama as Jesus eats his final meal, prays for deliverance in Gethsemane, is betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter and abandoned by the rest of his disciples.

Maundy comes from the Latin word for mandate, commandment, reflecting Jesus’ words “I give you a new commandment, that ye love one another.”

Jesus sent two of his disciples into Jerusalem to find a place for them to eat the Passover meal, the pascal meal. Called this because of the lamb that was sacrificed for the blood that was used to smear over the doorways as the ‘destroyer’ killed the first born of Egypt. But if we call this the Passover meal, then the timing is off…Passover doesn’t start until Friday….

Could this be a reference to Jesus being the Pascal Lamb, being sacrificed on Friday in place of the Pascal Lamb?

Don’t know….

They found an ‘upper room’ and that is where Jesus and the 12 met. Remember, metaphysically, whenever upper, going up the mountain, look up is mentioned, it means to connect with our higher consciousness. Maybe this is why we often look up to the sky when we think of ‘heaven’. And this higher consciousness is what was happening with Jesus and the 12.

This is where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Much to their chagrin. Generally, when one entered a house, they removed their sandals to prevent bringing dust in from their travels. Then a servant washed their feet.
So, to have Jesus wash the feet of his disciples would be unheard of. Peter protested, but Jesus replied to Peter that if he would not allow his feet to be washed by him, then Peter would have ‘no part of me’. Peter’s response to that was, ‘not only my feet, but also my hands and my head’.

Think about that…when I do something for you, I am giving you a part of me. Even more reason to accept that gift from others!

Then Jesus speaks of equality saying, “I, the Teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

What are your thoughts on this? Can you see that he is telling them that they are all equal and can all be the giver and the receiver?

The symbolic meaning of washing another’s feet is that, as Jesus’ followers, it is our duty to serve others by helping them to cleanse their consciousness of false beliefs and bring them to the light of true understanding.

Of course, this upper room is the place where Jesus tells Judas to do what he must do quickly.
It is also where Peter questions why he cannot follow where Jesus is going, saying “I would lay down my life for you”.
Even though Peter represents faith in our 12 powers, but until it is completely steadfast, it is changeable. So, Jesus tells him, “the cock shall not crow twice, till you have denied me three times.”

We often find ourselves questioning our faith or finding it not as strong as we would like. These are times when we need to look within, to pray and meditate. To talk with trusted friends. To remember, we are not alone.

And it was is also the time Jesus and the 12 shared the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine.
Metaphysically, the bread represents divine substance and the wine represents divine life. Unity does not believe that communion is something only done in church on Sunday, and we do not use the symbols of bread and wine. Unity believes that true communion may be entered into when we turn our attention to the Christ and that that divine activity is active in us now.

Jesus tells us there are ‘many mansions,’ meaning many places to abide. Could that mean he was preparing a permanent place in each of us…our Christ consciousness?

And when he tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me,” it means through his teachings.

Then Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed “not my will but thine be done.” How many of us have said that, can say that? Can you put your ego aside and step into what is yours to do?

This was a time when Jesus was being tried, he is wondering if he can follow through with what he knows he must do…yet he says, ‘Thy will be done’.

We all have trying times, not like this, but times when we are at our wits end, for whatever reason. Here is a great example of what we can and probably should do…go to God, Spirit, Divine Energy…whatever you call it and find your peace of mind.

The answer came to Jesus as he prayed and that is what we can do every day for our needs.

Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin.
Why did the arrest have to be in the darkness of night? Why not in daylight? Why did they need a traitor?
Jesus asked, “Day after day I was with you in the temple, teaching, and you did not arrest me.”

The Jewish Leaders had to go behind his back to get him out of the way. You ever been treated like that? Someone went behind your back, maybe said something to another to mess things up for you or to get what they wanted…attention or something more maybe?

The arrest of Jesus had to be away from the crowds, stealthy and he quickly tried before the people found out. The Priests and leaders were trying to avoid riots that would make them look bad to the Romans.

Amazingly, when the 6 hundred Imperial soldiers came and asked for Jesus, and he replied, ‘I am he’, the soldiers fell to their knees acknowledging his sacredness in the use of the I AM….but then arrested him anyway.

He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the whole council had gathered to begin making their case against Jesus. Keep in mind that any account of this ‘so-called trial’ would come from someone inside where the council was held. None of Jesus’ disciples followed him once he was arrested. They abandoned him.

So, we had to hear what happened from someone inside, not necessarily a friend of Jesus.

Also, remember, those holding the high positions were collaborators with the Romans. These leaders didn’t represent the Jewish people, their loyalty was compromised.

Politics hasn’t changed much….

We know what the story was that later was presented by the early Christians. We hear it every Easter. But whether it is accurate, we can only guess.

This work by the Jewish leaders is why, for many years, people blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus. We all know that is not true. Everything was building up to these moments. Could it be fate? Divine Order? Sacred Contracts even? We all have our thoughts about these days leading to the crucifixion and resurrection.

Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied knowing his Master three times before the rooster crowed.

Imagine yourself as a disciple of Jesus through these 5 days of Holy Week…what are your thoughts?

“The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem”- Monday & Tuesday


The Last Week – Monday

We started our Lenten Series last week discussing what we now call Palm Sunday. We are using Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossen’s book, “The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem” as well as a few other Unity references for this Lenten Series.

We learned that there was and had been political and religious turmoil for much of the history of Israel and the Jewish people, not only from the many conquers of Israel but from the Jewish hierarchy themselves.

So, each day throughout this last week of Jesus’ physical life, that tension grew. Jesus knew and understood what his expectations were. His followers didn’t understand the type of ‘king’ Jesus was to be. And the people of Jerusalem were fickle to say the least…easily led to change from adoring him to asking for his death.

You have any time in your life when you were easily swayed? When you went with the crowd?

This week we will look at Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week, both days busy with interactions with followers and the Jewish leaders.

Monday has been called Great Monday or Holy Monday. What happened on Monday? As Jesus and his followers walked the four miles back to Jerusalem, on the way, they encounter the fig tree.

It was the custom with the Near Eastern people to not eat what we call breakfast. So, as Jesus and his followers approached the city, a fig tree was by the road. In those times and even today, fruit trees along the roads were there for travelers to enjoy on their journey.

But remember, as people traveled in Jesus’ time, there was no way to ensure food would be able to be carried with the travelers.

So, fruit trees were planted along the way for them to enjoy. And this also refers to the hospitality laws of the time. If a traveler asked for sustenance, the people were expected to provide bread and water at the very least.
So, Jesus came upon the fig tree expecting to still his hunger only to find it bare. Probably other travelers had taken their share leaving the branches bare. Or maybe it was out of season, as some scripture insinuates. Jesus cursed the fig tree, in essence saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”

Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God’s judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine faith is more than just outward religiosity; true, living faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person’s life.

This reminded me of the principle, “once you know these truths, you can’t go back.” We keep feeling the nudge, that inner push that makes us keep going on, even if it’s 1 step up 2 back for a while. Eventually, it’s 2 & 3 steps up and now and again, 1 back. That is the spiritual fruits in our lives coming forth.

Keep at it and be patient with yourself.

What else happened on Monday of significance?

When Jesus arrived at the Temple, he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46).

This ‘temper tantrum’ at the temple was not necessarily about the money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals. It was maybe more so, about the high priestly families, who worked all too well with the governing Romans. One could say they were under the thumb of whoever was the Roman governor. And it was that governor who could fire the high priest if they didn’t agree with what the Romans wanted. So, they more often than not, did what the Romans wanted and certainly tried to keep the peace.

Of course, this action by Jesus angered the chief priests & scribes. It brought attention to them that they certainly didn’t want & they looked more for a way to kill him. However, the crowds in the temple were supportive of Jesus, which angered the priests even further.

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus spoke to his companions about the importance of faith. “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

This is part of Unity’s Prayer practice; we believe it is so and have gratitude for it. We see it as we believe…not believe it when we see it.

Can you say you believe it to be so and then see it?

Back at the Temple, religious leaders were upset at Jesus for establishing himself as a spiritual authority. They organized an ambush with questions, trying to trap him with the intent to place him under arrest. Here is where Jesus is asked about giving to Caesar. His response was ‘to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’

What does this mean? How do you give to Caesar and give to God?

And one of my favorites stories is about the widows’ mite. A mite was a very small coin, worth about a penny. And it was all she had to give at the temple, two mites. Jesus reminded everyone how she was giving more than those who gave a small portion of their treasure saying the amount she gave was a larger amount than their portion from their wealth.

What are your thoughts on the widow’s mite?

Jesus evaded all the traps the Priests had laid out for him, in an effort to arrest him. Jesus pronounced harsh judgment on them, saying:

“Blind guides! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33)

This is about the fact that the high priests put on a front, making a big deal about praying in public and giving donations to the temple, acting as if they are following the Torah. They are saying the words but not living them. The words are not coming from their hearts.

Is this how you are living your life?

We can help our spiritual journey as we attempt to follow our Way-Showers path by asking; ‘what would Jesus do?’ when confronted with a growth opportunity. Can you think of anything confronting you now that those words would help you with?

Later that afternoon, Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which sits due east of the Temple and overlooks Jerusalem. Here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, an elaborate prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. He speaks, as usual, in parables, using symbolic language about the end times events, including His Second Coming and the final judgment.

He used The Parable of the Two Sons, The Parable of the Tenants, and The Parable of the Wedding Banquet to talk about his coming death and how we should be preparing for it. It is here, during this discourse that he tells of God’s greatest commandment, ‘to love one another’.

Scripture indicates that this Tuesday was also the day Judas Iscariot negotiated with the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court of ancient Israel, to betray Jesus. According to Matthew 26:14-16, ‘Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So, they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.’

What is your 30 pieces of silver?

After a tiring day of confrontation and warnings about the future, once again, Jesus and the disciples returned to Bethany to stay the night.

Many people have had a hard time with Judas and his actions. And others understand that he did a duty, a job that was necessary to fulfill the prophecy that Jesus was to die so he could resurrect.

What are your thoughts on this?

Who did you relate to today?

Many questions today for your meditation and thoughts throughout the week.

You have any time in your life when you were easily swayed? You went with the crowd?

Can you say you believe it to be so and then see it?

What are your thoughts on the widow’s mite?
They are saying the words but not living them – Is this how you are living your life?

Can you think of anything confronting you now that those words, WWJD, would help you with?

What is your 30 pieces of silver?

“The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem” – Palm Sunday

The Last Week – Palm Sunday

This week and for the next weeks, as we go through the Lenten Season, we will use the book, “The Last Week – What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem” by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan to discuss this last week of our Way-Shower, what it could possibly have meant to Him and what it means to us.

Many, including Charles Fillmore, have called the last week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday the most important week in history. This, because of the profound impact the life of Jesus has made on the world.
I hope you will listen and ponder the thoughts that the message may bring to you.

So, we will look at the days leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus and what they may have meant in that time and what they could mean to us today.

The word lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means “sprint. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is also a time of self-examination and reflection.

Many of us come from traditional churches and the season of Lent was filled with guilt as we choose SOMETHING to ‘give up,’ to sacrifice for the 40 days. What we were ‘supposed to be doing is removing what interferes with our connection to God.

That goes back to what we idolize…coffee, money, sex, chocolate! These idols are representing what we are placing before our God. We may not be idolizing chocolate, but it can make us ponder that thought to see what we ARE placing before Divine Spirit.

And are you aware why the 40 days? Forty days is how long Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan.
What tempts you? Money? Sugar filled treats? Skipping exercise? Maybe skipping Sunday Service?

We start with what we call Palm Sunday. Called so because of the entrance into Jerusalem that Sunday morning by Jesus and the reception he received by the crowds.

They used palms because they were plentiful in the Near East.

Others used materials plentiful in their lands. We, here in Delaware, could very easily use pine tree limbs, or oak, or maple, because they are plentiful here. In fact, in some areas this was called Yew Sunday or Branch Sunday because of the branches available for use.

In many lands in the ancient Near East, it was customary to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor.

In the Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire, which strongly influenced Christian tradition, the palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory.

But, to understand the importance of this, we need to look at what brought us to that Sunday morning.

Jesus’ very presence agitated the established Roman authorities as well as the Jewish leaders. Here was a man who could cast out evil spirits from the afflicted, who dined with a Pharisee without conforming to custom of washing before the meal, Jesus set aside Jewish restrictions on what they could eat, he healed a sick woman on the sabbath and, the final straw, he raised Lazarus from the dead.

Some call that Saturday before Palm Sunday, Lazarus Saturday and look at it as a foreshadow of Jesus’ Resurrection.

Quite the feat for a humble carpenter.

The chief priests and Pharisees were afraid what the actions of Jesus would bring upon them all by the Romans. Here was a man who was claiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He defied tradition almost at every turn. He certainly didn’t let the Jewish leaders intimidate him. If anything, they were intimidated by him.
And so, to save their necks, they conspired to aid his demise.

Yet Jesus knew he had to continue, otherwise the three years of his ministry would all be for naught. As Ernest Wilson states in, “The Week That Was,” “it would mean oblivion of the revelation which was his own particular gift to the world. It would imply a defeat of the principle of love and nonresistance which had characterized his message.”
As I’m reading over this, I am reminded of other leaders promoting love and nonresistance…can you think of any?

So, the course was set.

So, let’s look at the day. Jesus and his followers had traveled to Bethphage from Bethany. They had just come from Mary & Martha’s home where he raised Lazarus from death. Quite the setting.
He sent two of his disciples into Bethany to return with a donkey colt, one that had never been ridden.

Why do you think that is important? If no one had ridden the colt before, it still needed to be trained, donkeys, after all, are known for their stubbornness. So, this, metaphysically shows us that our I AM, Jesus the Christ will over-come the physical senses, the donkey.

Let that sink in…our I AM, our Christ consciousness is here to help us overcome the 5 senses, so we use our Christ consciousness, our Higher Self to lead our every moment.

Also, a donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, unlike the horse which is the animal of war.

Another thought. Jesus followed the prophecy of Zechariah “…lo… your king comes riding on a colt…” Remember, this was a man from the peasant village of Nazareth. His followers were mostly peasants. This was his way of telling the people that he was their king and was still just a lowly man. His message was about the kingdom of God.

At the other side of the city, a different procession entered with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal parade. Pontius Pilate, Roman governor on a white horse, lead a column of imperial cavalry and soldiers from the west proclaiming the power of the Roman empire.
This procession also displayed Roman imperial theology…that is, the emperor was not only the Roman ruler, but also the Son of God. This did not sit well with the Jewish people.

According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem was planned to counter that of Pilate’s display of armored forces. It was a deliberate political statement: Pilate’s procession was all about power and glory, and the violence associated with world rule.
In contrast, Jesus’ procession embodied the alternative – the Kingdom of God.

While Pontius Pilate rode to his palace, Jesus rode to the Temple. A vast difference between the two, ….one material and the other spiritual.

All the difference between the two and as the tension rises through the week, aid in the end, to the death of Jesus and two others.

But we get ahead of ourselves.

Jerusalem became the capital of ancient Israel at the time of David and his son, Solomon. This time was revered to the Jews for its glory and that all 12 tribes were under one king. It was the time that the Jews had always hoped and prayed for. And, of course, the temple was the center of their lives.

Unfortunately, the same behavior from the oppressors of the Jewish people was found in the rulers of Jerusalem. There was political, economic and religious oppression and exploitation. So, the city, the hope of the Jewish people became “the center of injustice and of betrayal of God’s covenant.”

Eventually, the dream of a Jewish city was not to be when, again, they were defeated, this time by the Roman army. Their struggle to be freed from their oppressors, whether Roman or Jewish, continued.

So, we have the contrasting processions that Sunday morning. From the west, the symbol of the Roman empire. Of violence and conquers and domination.

And from the east, Jesus on a donkey, entering amongst the crowds who were shouting praises and waving Palms. This, the symbol of peace & humility, and continuing his message of transformation through the Kingdom of God.
Now we ask ourselves, which procession are we in? Which do we want to be in?

The procession Jesus led ended at the Temple where he heals the blind and lame. The chief priests and scribes reprimanded him, and he answered them, in essence, saying that youth know more about faith than you scribes and priests do.
Jesus was openly declaring to the people that He was their King and the Messiah they had been waiting for.
They welcomed Him out of their desire for a messianic deliverer, someone who would lead them in a revolt against Rome. There were many who, though they did not believe in Christ as Savior, nevertheless hoped that perhaps He would be to them a great temporal deliverer.

These are the ones who hailed Him as King with their many hosannas, recognizing Him as the Son of David who came in the name of the Lord. But when He failed in their expectations, when He refused to lead them in a massive revolt against the Roman occupiers, the crowds quickly turned on Him. Within just a few days, their hosannas would change to cries of “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:20-21).

And every evening, Jesus and his followers walked the four miles back the Bethany only to travel again in the morning.

This is how the last week started. Jesus continuing to move forward to his destiny, aggravating the Jewish leaders, increasing their fear of losing their position.

What has fear caused you to do? Take that question into meditation….
What person mentioned today do you relate to the most? Jesus, Pilate, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, his disciples, the crowd waving palms and shouting Hosanna?
What tempts you? which procession are you in? Which do we want to be in? What has fear caused you to do?