Rev David Hughes shares his thoughts with us this month.
Thank you David.
A few weeks ago, Derek Skinner asked if I would speak at shoulder 2 shoulder breakfast and we arrived at a date, 4th April.
Now that all gatherings are banned, Derek asked if I would email my notes to him so that he can distribute them to you all. As I don’t get on very well, reading my notes, I usually just have headings, scriptures and a few things which I may forget, so I have tweaked my notes so they may make some sense to you and here they are…
CONFLICT! Mark 11:1-11
This account is also found in:
Matthew 21:1–11 Luke 19:28–40 John 12:12–19
April 4th, when I was to be with you is the day before Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week
Before we look at the events of Palm Sunday, let’s go back one day:
The preceding passage, John 12:1-11 takes us to Bethany where Martha served a meal
Lazarus was reclining at the table with Jesus
Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil
Nard (also called Spikenard) was an expensive oil and had a unique and extremely strong scent, and it was the very best offering for Jesus.
To kneel before someone, especially to wash or anoint their feet was seen as a very humble act – Mary humbled herself in her service to Jesus and her humility was seen in two other ways
Poured on oil = financial cost
Wiped his feet with her hair personal cost - she let down her hair in public, something a Jewish woman would rarely do.
Even here, we see conflict in Mary’s act:
Financial conflict spending so much on Jesus
Personal conflict humbling herself in public
John 12:12 “the next day…” takes us into Palm Sunday
A greater conflict taking place at Jerusalem…
THE PALM SUNDAY CONFLICT (between 2 processions)
The GREATEST conflict of all was the conflict being played out in front of everyone on that first Palm Sunday between 2 processions
The procession of Jesus and his followers – PEASANTS PROCESSION
Versus PILATE’S PROCESSION (Pilate and his followers)
Pilate’s procession came from the west, through the western Damascus Gate, on the Syrian Road. Pilate riding at the head of the imperial cavalry and soldiers from Caesarea Maritima (c. 60 miles)
Jesus (Peasants) procession came from the east, (seen by some as the counter-procession), stealing the attention from Pilate’s ceremonial procession coming from Galilee via the mount of Olives (c.100miles) riding on a donkey with peasant people
Pilate proclaiming the power of the Roman empire
Jesus proclaiming the kingdom of God
Two processions entering from opposite sides of the city with opposite intentions and they were heading for a conflict which would culminate in a powerful way ending at Calvary
The tension rose when the crowd welcoming Jesus waved palm branches which became closely associated with victory in the culture of ancient Rome. The Latin word palma was sometimes used to mean "victory" and was a sign of any kind of victory.
A victorious lawyer would decorate his front door with palm leaves – no wonder there was conflict
CONFLICTS IN OUR LIVES
As we think of the conflicts surrounding Palm Sunday, what about the conflicts which we can encounter, either with others, in our own lives, or our spiritual experience?
Paul experienced inner conflicts
Romans 7:7-25 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (v15)
Paul identifies spiritual conflicts
Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other”
What are the conflicts that we might experience?
Right vs wrong
Pride vs humility
Natural vs spiritual
Work / voluntary help / hobbies
Or a number of other things?
Are you facing conflicts with others ?
Proverbs 10:12 “hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers up all wrongs”
Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel”.
Whether you feel responsible for the conflict or not, these verses from Proverbs may help you
For all of us, the question is do we follow Christ or those around us and society? – See Romans 12:1-2
Jesus had to trust his father – just as we do
The one who raised the dead was about to die and be raised
ONE FINAL THOUGHT:
The entry into Jerusalem by Jesus took place at the time of Passover which reminded the Jewish people how God set them free from slavery.
Let us also remember that Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin if we commit our lives to him.
Let us also believe and pray for freedom from the corona virus (covid 19)
Have a blessed Easter and release from inner conflict or conflict with others.