RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Palm Sunday

The Philosophy of Jesus

As his reputation as a healer and teacher grew, first century philosophers began to ponder the secret behind Jesus’ success.  Some Greeks approached Philip, one of Jesus’ disciple, hoping to arrange a meeting.  After conferring with Jesus, he agreed to sit down over dinner to share his beliefs.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit, John 12:24.

This meal takes place of the eve of Passion Week, beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Jesus’ crucifixion.  Subsequently, in the previous verse John 12:23, Jesus points to a time when he will lay die his life.  This serves as an introduction to the philosophy of Jesus, you have to die to self before you can trily live.

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life, John 12:25.

I wish I could have seen the looks on the faces of these philosophers.  I’m sure there was some head scratching and strange looks.  Yet, Jesus’ philosophy comes down to two elements: life and death.  Those who want to stay in control never find the abundant life promised in  John 10:10.  Meanwhile, those who are willing give up their life on earth to serve God receive eternal blessings.  This choice is not forced or manipulated.  Rather, its up to you.  Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Save Us From Ourselves

As a child, going out to dinner was a luxury, something saved for special celebrations.  When this did occur, there was always at least one table with out of control children.  In the heat of the moment, one of the parents blurted out, “I can’t take you anywhere, can I?”  This experience serves as a subtle reminder that human beings need to be saved from themselves.

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” – Matthew 21:9

The word Hosanna is introduced in the Old Testament.  However, its most famous reference occurs on Palm Sunday quoted in the verse above.  The actual definition of Hosanna is Lord save us.  However, over time the true meaning was altered to include blessed are those for Jesus has come.  However, this doesn’t save individuals from the fact that mankind are fallen creatures in desperate need of a Savior.

LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! – Psalm 118:25

Over 2,000 years later, this fact is the reason why people celebrate every Easter Sunday.  The resurrection of Jesus is a fulfillment of the Psalmist’s words.  What Adam ruined, Christ returned to restore that which was lost.  Therefore, as you wake up to attend a sunrise service or plan on attending a regular church service, may you find hope and peace in the promise of Hosanna.

by Jay Mankus

 

Sweat and Blood

The medical term for sweat and blood is hematidrosis.  Initial signs of this rare condition often develop from the forehead, underneath nails or begin as a nose bleed.  Meanwhile, the phrase blood, sweat and tears refers to pouring your heart and soul into a business, career or project.  When you invest a large portion of your life or time into something special, its like a woman giving birth, enduring labor pains until you see the end result, a child of God.

Jesus did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption, Hebrews 9:12.

While every venture in life is a noble cause, nothing compares to the sacrifice made by the Son of God.  Following Adam and Eve’s blunder, the serpent, symbolic of Satan, is notified about an individual who will crush his head.  Yet, this wasn’t possible until a series of event had to play out.  An the eve of the completion of God’s plan, overwhelming stress led Jesus’ sweat to become like blood.  Whether this was figuratively or literally occurred, it doesn’t matter.  The point is that an innocent man laid down his life, willing to die, once and for all to atone for the sins of the world.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends, John 15:13.

As another Palm Sunday approaches, don’t forget about the sweat of blood endured for you and for me.  While everyone has their own unique struggles to conquer sin in their life, the author of Hebrews has a simple suggestion.  In your battle against sin, you have not shed blood like Jesus.  Therefore, lean on God’s grace, throw off those things holding you back spiritually and thank the Lamb of God for giving everyone a second chance.  May the truth about the resurrection revive and rejuvenate your faith this Easter and continue throughout the year.

by Jay Mankus

Last Rites

No one except God knows what will be your last day, meal or words.  In the case of Jesus, I guess you can say He was born to die, causing a wide range of emotions.  As the Passion Week approached, interactions with family, friends and disciples would be his last, causing the praises of Hosanna on Palm Sunday to be replaced with “Crucify Him.”

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Today, when doctor’s sense the end is near, Catholics call a priest to perform last rites.  Otherwise known as the sacraments of anointing the sick, if death is expected, Penance and Communion is also offered to prepare one’s soul for the afterlife.  Once complete, family members gather around to savor the remaining moments of life together.  The closest thing that I’ve ever experienced was the day my grandfather died, holding his hand one last time before his last breath.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.

While hanging from a cross on Good Friday, there were only two more things left on God’s agenda.  First, Jesus gave hope to one of two criminals hanging from an adjacent cross, offering Him the promise of paradise for his repentant words.  Second, as the oldest son, Jesus wanted to make sure Mary was in good hands, commanding John of Zebedee to watch after his mother.  Though no last rites where necessary for Jesus, a perfect man, Hebrews 4:14-16, Jesus gave up His spirit with one final comment, “it is finished!”

by Jay Mankus

Strangers in the Crowd

The biblical accounts of The Triumphal Entry contain 3 common threads, except for John who only mentions two, John 12:12-18.  Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:28-44 explain the detailed preparations necessary to make the first Palm Sunday a reality, followed by specific instructions Jesus leaves with two of his disciples.  Once executed exactly according to Jesus’ own words, all 4 authors emphasize the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy by the triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the waving of palm branches, an act of praise and worship by the strangers in the crowd.

While the Holy Spirit, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, led Matthew, Mark and Luke to recount these 3 main details, John is moved in a different direction, focusing on individuals who attended this celebration.  John 12:17 suggests that people who went to Lazarus’ funeral lined the streets, paying homage to the man who brought their friend back to life.  Though this passage shines light on a few of the participants, clues, hints and logic are the only tools we have remaining to connect the dots to the faces of these strangers in this crowd.

Matthew 20:34 confirms that two blind men from Jericho whom were healed by Jesus, followed him to Jerusalem.  Bartimaeus is named directly by  a similar account in Mark 10:46-52.  Meanwhile, Matthew 19:13-15 informs us that children were granted access to Jesus, likely following their parents trying to sneak a peek of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.   According to Luke 19:1-10, a short tax collector began climbing a tree to get Jesus’ attention.  After a life changing visit with Jesus, Zacchaeus was surely present, either in the front row or climbing another tree to pay Jesus the respect he deserved.

With all the clues and hints within Scripture used up, logic leads me to believe that anyone healed by Jesus came to the first Palm Sunday.  Furthermore, any family member who either heard, knew of someone or actually saw Jesus make a person whole again was likely in attendance.  As Palm Sunday 2013 approaches this weekend, don’t be left out in the cold.  Rather, line up early to become another stranger in the crowd, ready to worship the risen King!

by Jay Mankus