Dr. John B. MacDonald
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"Who is this?"

This was the question asked 2,000 years ago.

It's one of the best questions to ask today!

Palm Sunday

In a couple of days, the traditional church calendar remembers Palm Sunday.

This marks Jesus' arrival at the gates of Jerusalem. As a conquering king, he enters the city. 

Take a moment to read this event in Matthew 21:1-11. In part, we read:

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted:

"Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"

Hosanna has the meaning of "save," or "savior."

Despite the crowd's jubilation, and its response to the question – still, a few days later, it was complicit in the crucifixion of Jesus.

Who is this?

Not long before, Jesus asked his disciples this question (16:15-17):

"Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."

It appears that only a few moments later, Jesus unfolds impending events with these words (16:21):

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter's reaction is: "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!"

But it did.

Why did Jesus die?

Theologian, John Stott, provides us with a partial answer:

The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.

Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.

Man claims prerogatives that belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.

As we stand before the cross, we begin to gain a clear view both of God and of ourselves ... . Instead of inflicting upon us the judgment we deserved, God in Christ endured it in our place.

What does this mean for you?

This is a good time to ask these questions for yourself: 

  • Who is he? And, what does this mean for me?
  • Why did he die? And, what does this mean for me?

What are your answers?

How do they make a difference?

Shalom.

Photo credit: [email protected] via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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