Open Your Bible
Luke 19:28-44, Psalm 118:25-29, Zechariah 9:9
I love the exercise of doing something again. I like to read the same great books, over and over. I like to watch the same TV shows, or watch the same movies, and mine them for new gems. I’ve been re-reading all of Jane Austen’s novels over the past few years, and every book has been a delight. If books are prisms, then each new season of life has me looking through a different side, seeing how old and new insights bounce off of each other like light, making the experience richer and brighter each time I read.
Sometimes, reading Scripture is like that, especially reading beloved passages like the one today from Luke 19. Perhaps this is your first time ever reading the story of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, kicking off the final series of events before His death. Perhaps you’ve read it dozens of times, and as you read it this morning your eyes skimmed over it, connecting only with the keywords you know to expect.
Because Scripture is a means of grace, it reads us as much as we read it. Like a prism, it catches light no matter when we look at it, and illuminates something deeper and richer. Scripture is living and active, which means that if we approach it with prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide us, and it will always reveal something to us.
I can imagine the cries of the crowd who cheered for Jesus were staccato: sharp, loud, joyful, full of passion, short. “Blessed is the King!” they yelled, throwing their garments on the ground for His donkey to walk over. Not long after, the crowds would cry something different: “Crucify Him!”
But it seems that Jesus gave a legato response to the crowd: long notes, connected to a deeper understanding of His purpose. His statements reference the Old Testament: “the stones will cry out” from Habakkuk 2; and “For the days will come on you when your enemies will build a barricade around you, surround you, and hem you in on every side” (Luke 19:43), from Isaiah 29, Jeremiah 6, and Ezekiel 4.
Jesus’s statement, “If you knew this day what would bring peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes” resounds with wisdom and sadness (Luke 19:42). He was speaking to Jerusalem, the city He loved. He was speaking to the crowds who cheered Him and the Pharisees who challenged Him. He spoke with authority, which would quickly be followed up with anger when He cleansed the temple.
Lent, Holy Week, and Easter are a symphony, full of staccato celebration and legato mourning. We cheer, we cry. We celebrate, we abstain. We experience the fullness of life, death, and hope everlasting. We are Easter people, but we have the whole of the story in our bones. And every time we read it, we feel it more and deeper: the pain, the joy, and the glorious hope.