Monday, March 25, 2013

Which one are you?

"they did not understand these things at first,
but when Jesus was glorified, 
 they remembered that these things were written"
John 12:16

Palm Sunday.  It's such an interesting day to me.  When I was young, they handed out palm branches at my church, and we got to take them home after the service.  They were slender, and my mom would use her fingernail to slice a slit about two-thirds up the frond, and then tuck the top end in that slit, creating a sort of ersatz cross.  Or we'd take two, and combine them to look like a cross. 

I don't know whose hand this is; I got this off of  :)
I almost forgot about Palm Sunday this year.  Well, forgot when it was.  Because I'm studying a gospel in Bible study, and we've already studied the chapter with the Triumphal Entry, I guess I sort of stopped thinking about it.  

But don't worry ~ I still know Easter's comin'!  

However, when I was thinking about Palm Sunday, a few weeks ago, here's what I was thinking...

In chapter 11 of John, we had read and studied the passage about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  In that discussion, we had also talked about Mary and Martha, Lazarus' sisters.  Now, most people know Mary and Martha's famous "disagreement" in Luke 10.  Martha had been busy preparing dinner, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet, listening to His teachings.  And when Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her, Jesus replied, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."  

So, remember that about Mary. 

In chapter 12, we read about Mary pouring expensive perfume on Jesus' feet, honoring and anointing Him.  But the perfume was expensive, and Judas used this as an excuse to complain about Mary's actions, protesting that the perfume could have been sold, and the money given to the poor.  But verse 6 tells us that Judas didn't say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was in charge of the money bag, and he stole from it. 

So, remember that about Judas.

The second part of chapter 12 is the Triumphal Entry:  Jesus entering Jerusalem, while the multitudes praised and honored Him.  They took palm branches and went out to meet Him.  They laid their branches, and their cloaks in the road, and they shouted "Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" 

But a few days later, they would be shouting, "Crucify Him!"

So, remember that about the people.

What came to mind, as I pondered all of these stories, was the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13 and how accurately Mary, Judas, and the multitudes illustrate the point of the parable. 

The parable tells of a man who sowed seed, some of which fell on stony ground, where there wasn't much soil.  The seed sprouted soon, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away.   This is the multitudes, who enthusiastically welcomed Jesus into their midst and into their city.  But when He wasn't the Savior they were looking for ~ when He didn't "deliver" them from the Romans, they turned on Him.   "When tribulation arises... immediately (they) stumble" (Matthew 13:21)

Some of the seed fell among thorns, and as they sprouted, the thorns sprang up and choked them out.  This is Judas.  He cared more for the things of the world ~ like money~ than he did for the things of God.  "The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful." (Matthew 13:22)

Finally, some seed fell on good ground, and yielded a crop.  This is Mary.  She heard, she accepted, she grew, and she wanted more.  "(she) who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces." (Matthew 13:23)

Don't you just love it when the Bible illuminates the Bible?  Read and learn!

~ "Therefore hear the parable of the sower." ~
Matthew 13:18

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