FRIDAY, MARCH 23
The emerging message
Isaiah speaks of a servant who listens to the Lord devotedly and takes a beating from others
A picture of a true disciple’s false accusation, punishment – and assurance of the Lord’s vindication
Confidence in God’s unfailing love at a time of desperation
David knew God’s faithfulness when he was under attack – prophetic of Jesus’ time of torment also
Psalm 118:1-2 and 19-29
The song that pilgrims in festal procession sang came to life in a new way at Jesus’ entry into the city
The person whose name had the meaning “You have become my salvation” was to become the “stone that the builders rejected” in the words of this processional
Two disciples are sent to find the young donkey the Lord has provided for the fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy
Jesus enters the city to shouts of acclaim from a gathering crowd who offer Him royal homage
Paul challenges Christians reading the letter with the standard of humility and obedience shown by Christ
Jesus made Himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant – but without losing His divine origins as part of the Trinity
Five facets of Jesus’ lordship
The Sunday where Jesus’ triumphant entry to shouts of Hosanna! and a path of palm branches is a reminder of a royal procession unlike any we have seen.
Jesus, who we know as King of kings and Lord of lords, is revealed in a prophetic picture in Isaiah 50 as a servant, obedient to the point of being willing to take abuse, in the confidence of eventual vindication
The psalms show us another prophetic insight, the Lord held even through desperate circumstances by knowing God intimately, and His unfailing love. This for us is what film-makers would call a prequel and theologians a foreshadow of what was to come. Man’s cruelty and God’s love were juxtaposed in sharp relief in prophetic destiny, set out in Psalm 118, where rejection by man, always known by God, becomes His glory.
Next we see Jesus fulfilling a prophecy, entering the city as a king who appears as a peacemaker on an unkingly mount, a donkey.
Looking back at the Cross, Paul gives us a fifth facet by explaining how Jesus, Son of God, could let go of His divine rank to take on the nature of a servant for His time on earth – and let this become the route to true glory.
Paul doesn’t say how much more we need to let go of self and let God use us without our glory. The point is already strongly made. However, the church, facing into an unbelieving world, has not made this its manifesto. Millions will own having faith but have been hurt by a church that at times is a caricature of Jesus’ values.