International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday March 30, 2014
Purpose: To celebrate Jesus’ new kind of kingship that surprises and challenges human expectations
Background Scripture: Zechariah 9:9-10; Matthew 21:1-11
Scripture Text: Matthew 21:1-11
Zechariah 9:9 (CEB)
(9) Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion.
Sing aloud, Daughter Jerusalem.
Look, your king will come to you.
He is righteous and victorious.
He is humble and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the offspring of a donkey.
Matthew 21:1-11 (CEB)
(1) When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. (2) He said to them, "Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. (3) If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it." He sent them off right away.(4) Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, 5 Say to Daughter Zion, "Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring."(6) The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. (7) They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
(8) Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. (9) The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"(10) And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. "Who is this?" they asked. (11) The crowds answered, "It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
If we went back in history to the time of Christ we might be able to better understand the significance of our text. Jerusalem had seen many kings and conquerors make an entry into Jerusalem. They had seen or heard about Alexander the Great, and later his generals. They had also witnessed Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony and others. That is what makes Jesus’ “Triumphant Entry” so different.
The only reason for this procession was that the prophet Zechariah, under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, had foretold this event. Zechariah did not know all of the details or the circumstance, he prophesied what he was told. At the time of Zechariah, Jerusalem was a heap of rubble. God’s people were discouraged and coming back out of exile. They need some good news, God used Zechariah to deliver the good news. Actually it is not unlike last week’s lesson when God used John to deliver good news to those early churches of Asia-Minor.
Zechariah saw a reason to rejoice, a new king is coming. A king that is both righteous and victorious, but more importantly a king that is humble. A king that will come on a beast of burden, not with mighty steeds and chariots or a great army.
This new king will be a rightful heir of David, the founder of Mt. Zion. This new king will lead by example. He will actually die for all humankind. But, he will not stay in the grave, after three days he will come forth and continue to teach and witness to those that followed him for an additional forty days
The staging of this event was no accident. Jesus’ popularity amongst the people has peaked. Jerusalem is full of Jews from all over the world that had come back to celebrate the Passover. God is creating an event that no one can ignore.
Jesus from Nazareth is the focal point of the city, and he rides in on a donkey and a colt. Certainly he was no threat militarily. However, his ability to enlist followers that were obedient should not go unnoticed. Verse 6 tells us, “his disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered.”
Obedience to Jesus is what made this a “Triumphant Entry.” “Coming in the name of the Lord,” is what makes Christianity work. We are all called to obey just as the disciples did. Jesus has a task for all of us. As long as we are obedient and humble, we can be a part of this new kingdom.
Just as John and Zechariah brought hope for those in their time, we are called to bring hope to those in our time. The victory has been won, shout your Hosanna’s, “blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”