Covid19 has us stuck at home preparing for Easter… but rather than arguing over the next show to stream, mark each day with this devotion. Click here if you missed a past day’s reading.
During President Trump’s address on Thursday he mentioned a malaria drug, Chloroquine, may be effective in combating Covid19. Of course I just came back from Haiti, so it is a drug I am currently taking. While I hate to admit it, there is a bit of health and wealth gospel still in my heart. So my first thought was “God is looking out for me because I was faithful to go to Haiti.” Thankfully my theology has grown up, and I quickly turned my thoughts back to Jesus. God IS looking out for me. But God’s compassion is not based on my works. And walking with God often doesn’t bring health or wealth. The most faithful tend to look like Jesus!
But the people of Israel did not yet understand what it meant to “look like Jesus”. They expected the Messiah’s arrival would bring them health and wealth. They understood the symbolism of the colt. They realized Jesus was declaring himself the Messiah. The pandemonium of songs and palms and coats on the group was based on that belief. But in a few days, they realized what Jesus as Messiah meant… this helps explain the crowds quick about face at the end of the week. They wanted God to provide power for Israel… when they found a Messiah who sacrifices for the sake of enemies… they shouted “crucify”.
On Chloroquine, I am praying it or some other easy to produce medicine (or vaccine) becomes available for ALL of the world. All nations, all religions, all peoples… because God is looking out for ALL, which is the truth of Holy Week.
For three years of ministry Jesus was elusive. Speaking in small communities. Telling truth through parables. There was always the hint of something more… that he might be the Messiah. But it wasn’t direct. He silenced folks he healed (Mark 1:44). When the crowds, even in the wilderness, got too amped, Jesus went to a new place (John 15:5). That is until this day. What we now call Holy Week. Jesus leaves no room for doubt and recreates a clear OT Prophecy of the Messiah, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech 9:9).
But consider the contrast between a typical ruler and the path of this King. Brian Zhand writes about the entrance of Pilate that same week. Of course Pilate normally resided in Caesarea, he traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover. Pilate entered the city riding a horse at the head of the Imperial Calvary. “It was intended to be a show of force to intimidate any would be revolutionaries.” 1
But the revolutionary came in the opposite manner. Riding a donkey — not even a full sized donkey — a donkey’s colt. “We can picture the ridiculous sight as Jesus rides a donkey so small his feet drag the ground.” 1
Yet this was God’s design. Prophesied plan. Our messiah would not come in power to intimidate, but meekly to submit. How should this truth affect our understanding of the gospel?
1 Postcards from Babylon, Brian Zhand, 90