Tommy BowmanComment

Holy Week Devotional | Day 1

Tommy BowmanComment
"King for Crowds" by Chris Stewart
10 Have you ever seen someone paint a landscape? It begins looking disconnected but as the artist continues you see it take form. In many ways the biblical narrative comes together with towering brilliance, leaving the reader marveling at its intricacy. In the depths of the prophets of old was proclaimed that the Lord would come victorious wearing a crown. When this happens, according to Isaiah, Israel would fade and be plucked like a fig at harvest (Isaiah 28:4-6).

This prophecy is seemingly fulfilled in Mark 11:1-14. It is the Sunday before Passover; Passover is the celebration of Israel’s past liberation from Egypt and of the future liberating Messiah! Jesus enters into Jerusalem being hailed as the King (Messiah) of the Jews, from the ancestry of David. The people raise their voices in jubilant praise as their King enters the Holy City!

It may seem odd that Jesus’ next move (the following morning) is to curse a fig tree, forbidding it to bear fruit. Unless you understand the prophecy, and know that the fig tree is a symbol for Israel throughout the Old Testament, this whole interaction may seem strange. Why is Jerusalem fruitless? Why does Jesus respond this way to the people who welcomed him with praise? Jesus knows within a week’s time they would be raising him up, nailed to an execution stake. The king the Jewish people wanted was not the one they were going to get.

How much am I like the Jewish people! I prefer the triumphal king to the murdered one of Good Friday. I have this misconception that following the Universal King will give me certain rights; I don’t expect the best job in the world, but maybe one that can afford me a home, car, and savings. Or I expect a loving wife and obedient kids. What used to be praise becomes complaining, anger, and self-righteousness when these “divine perks” remain missing.

Isn’t it amazing that the one calling the Jewish people fruitless is the one knowingly walking into his own death! No wonder John Ortberg ponders: “How subversive is the kingdom of God!?” The kings and kingdoms of this world are fruitless and the King of the Cross is the life giver!

Nine Inch Nails’ song, Hurt, correctly sees through our lies: “You can have it all, my empire of dirt.” As we enter into Holy Week my prayer for us is this, that our kingdoms will be seen for what they are: dirt. What is your dirt, your fruitless thing that needs Jesus? Before we get to Easter, this needs addressing. Are you ready to give up everything for Life?

Consequently, our fruitlessness only becomes fruitful again through the death and regeneration of Jesus… like a seed. Have you ever seen someone paint a landscape? It begins looking disconnected but as the artist continues you see it take form. In many ways the biblical narrative comes together with towering brilliance, leaving the reader marveling at its intricacy. In the depths of the prophets of old was proclaimed that the Lord would come victorious wearing a crown. When this happens, according to Isaiah, Israel would fade and be plucked like a fig at harvest (Isaiah 28:4-6).

This prophecy is seemingly fulfilled in Mark 11:1-14. It is the Sunday before Passover; Passover is the celebration of Israel’s past liberation from Egypt and of the future liberating Messiah! Jesus enters into Jerusalem being hailed as the King (Messiah) of the Jews, from the ancestry of David. The people raise their voices in jubilant praise as their King enters the Holy City!

It may seem odd that Jesus’ next move (the following morning) is to curse a fig tree, forbidding it to bear fruit. Unless you understand the prophecy, and know that the fig tree is a symbol for Israel throughout the Old Testament, this whole interaction may seem strange. Why is Jerusalem fruitless? Why does Jesus respond this way to the people who welcomed him with praise? Jesus knows within a week’s time they would be raising him up, nailed to an execution stake. The king the Jewish people wanted was not the one they were going to get.

How much am I like the Jewish people! I prefer the triumphal king to the murdered one of Good Friday. I have this misconception that following the Universal King will give me certain rights; I don’t expect the best job in the world, but maybe one that can afford me a home, car, and savings. Or I expect a loving wife and obedient kids. What used to be praise becomes complaining, anger, and self-righteousness when these “divine perks” remain missing.

Isn’t it amazing that the one calling the Jewish people fruitless is the one knowingly walking into his own death! No wonder John Ortberg ponders: “How subversive is the kingdom of God!?” The kings and kingdoms of this world are fruitless and the King of the Cross is the life giver!

Nine Inch Nails’ song, Hurt, correctly sees through our lies: “You can have it all, my empire of dirt.” As we enter into Holy Week my prayer for us is this, that our kingdoms will be seen for what they are: dirt. What is your dirt, your fruitless thing that needs Jesus? Before we get to Easter, this needs addressing. Are you ready to give up everything for Life?

Consequently, our fruitlessness only becomes fruitful again through the death and regeneration of Jesus… like a seed.

10