Submitted by rmurden on Fri, 01/30/2015 – 14:11
It was the in the fourth century AD that Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (d. 384) first came up with the idea of celebrating Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem on the Sunday before Easter and thereby to launch what we know as “Holy Week.” And the idea has spread! Today there will be Christians all around the globe (in churches large and small, whether in the Vatican, or on the Mount of Olives itself) who will gather either to hear the full readings of the Passion Narrative or to join in processions, proclaiming Jesus as the true King of our world. Palm Sunday is, as it were, the day of Jesus’ public Coronation.
Matthew would be delighted! For in his Gospel, Matthew keeps our attention tightly focused on the identity of Jesus: Jerusalem’s citizens ask, “Who is this?” (v. 10). They are told He is a “prophet” — one who speaks God’s true word — and He is! More than that, Matthew highlights Jesus as Zion’s King (v. 5), the royal “Son of David” (vv. 9, 15) — a key insight, grasped even by young children! And, in going into the temple courts, overturning the commercial tables, Jesus is hinting at His authority in matters of public worship — His identity as God’s appointed “Priest” (hence Hebrews’ teaching about Jesus our “High Priest”).
Prophet, King, and Priest—and yet there’s more: this Jesus, though fully human, is portrayed by Matthew (himself a convinced monotheistic Jew) as sharing in the very identity of Yahweh, Israel’s God! Hence the references to the “Lord” (vv. 3, 9); moreover, in biblical thought, the ultimate King of Zion (the “city of God”) was God Himself. And both Jesus’ quotations (from Isaiah 56:7 and Psalm 8:2), when you ponder them carefully, contain more than a hint that Jesus is deliberately placing Himself in the role of Yahweh: “this temple is ‘My house’ – I am the One to be praised and worshiped here!”
Lord Jesus, on this Your Coronation day, may yet more people come to recognize You as the world’s true King. Help us, like young children, to heed Your truthful word, to acknowledge You as the true center of our worship, and to proclaim You gladly as our King and God: ”Hosanna to the Son of David”