What I’m Thinking: Clear Message

Matthew’s account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem has a curious feature: Jesus rode on two animals. It’s because Matthew wanted to make sure we understand who Jesus is.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m pleased that we’ll be welcoming a guest to bring the message to Church of the Holy Cross this coming Sunday. The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Lee is Philanthropy Officer at the Pension Boards United Church of Christ. He’s also a colleague of mine from seminary. We used to work next door to each other when he was with Hartford Seminary and I was on the staff of the Connecticut Conference UCC.

So Jonathan, it will be good to see you, even if it will be on a screen. He’ll be with us via technology, of course, not able to travel.

I am thinking about the twenty-first chapter of Matthew (Matthew 21:1-11), his account of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Matthew, rather curiously, describes Jesus riding (somehow or other) on two animals, a colt and a donkey. This is because Matthew was being rather rigorous in his reading of the earlier prophecy that describes the Messiah’s triumphant entry. Matthew read it as there being two animals, and so if this was a fulfillment of prophecy, then Jesus must have rode in on two animals.

What this tells us is not so much that Matthew is a fussy reader of Scripture, it is of Matthew’s utter conviction that Jesus was the Anointed One, was the fulfillment of God’s promises to the people of Israel, was and is the ultimate expression of God’s love on Earth. And so it’s not so much a matter of whether Jesus might or might not have fulfilled the prophecy, Jesus had to fulfill the prophecy and Matthew was going to describe it as such so that you and I would not miss his meaning. This is Jesus. This is the Christ.

It is sad that we will not be able to be together and to wave our palms in the air. It is sad that we will have to enjoy Jonathan Lee’s message in our separate places.

But it is not sad that we recall once more this truth Matthew worked so hard to make sure we would not miss: This is Jesus the Messiah. This is God’s Anointed One. This is God’s ultimate expression of love on Earth.

Wave your palms however you may, and lift your hearts, and say, “Hosannah!”

For God is with us. Amen.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on March 30, 2020

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