As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’” The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the lord! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!” So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples. (Mark 11:1-11 NLT)
The Joy Set Before Him
I cannot but help think about Hebrews 12:2 as I read about Jesus entering Jerusalem.
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
He knew what was coming. He knew this would be his last week. He knew he would suffer terribly. He went forward with God's plan. He entered Jerusalem triumphantly–knowing he would have victory over death and sin. Yes, the way would be incredibly painful, but for Jesus, it was joy.
I am encouraged as I think about the incredible sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf. He didn't do it reluctantly. He did it with joy. Now that absolutely rocks my understanding of joy. (God has a way of wrecking our understanding of words like joy and suffering when we see it through the eyes of Jesus.) I am humbled. I am thankful for the immeasurable love of God.
What are you doing to celebrate Easter?
If you haven't made plans, today is a great day to make them. This marks the week we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Today, we celebrate his coming to Jerusalem. Next Sunday, we celebrate his resurrection. Prepare your hearts.