Thursday, January 21, 2010

Echoes of angels: The reception of the King.

palmsunday As he was drawing near---already on the way down the Mount of Olives---the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Luke 19:37-38

Luke gives some interesting detail about the triumphal entry that shows us how much Jesus impacted His followers. There are several key details that illuminate the moment. It makes the story deeper than what I remember from my childhood Palm Sunday flannelgraph lessons.

The first detail is that the crowd seemed to be crying towards Him, welcoming Jesus as He approached. The joyous shouts started perhaps before He was even close enough to make them out distinctly. And importantly, most of those gathered in the large crowd already claimed to follow Him. It is His disciples that start the shouts of acclaim.

Luke also gives detail as to their motivation. They are remembering the miracles – the mighty works that they had seen. It is this unique work of Jesus that leads to the acclaim, the kingly procession, and the wild joy of the multitude.

The other unique addition in Luke is the recorded content of the crowd’s acclaim. They echo and exchange what the angel choir proclaimed at Jesus’ birth. The angels sang of peace on earth. The triumphal entry crowd sang of peace in heaven. They unwittingly prophesied of the coming atonement Jesus would bring that would satisfy forever the sin debt between humanity and God. He was bringing peace to heaven as well as to earth.

I also hear the echoes of the Bethlehem angels in the crowd’s praises of “glory in the highest”! Jesus has drawn a unique praise to the Father from both men and angels. This serves as an important bookmark in Luke’s gospel. It points to the coming completion of Christ’s work.

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