Sunday 28 March 2010

Bible Book:

"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children ... For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" (v.28, 31)

Luke 23:1-49 Sunday 28 March 2010


It is traditional at the beginning of Holy Week (when weremember the events of the final week of Jesus' life) to read thestory of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (Luke19:29-40) and to re-enact it by waving green palms. But it isalso traditional to hear the story of Jesus' trial and death and tofold the palms into crosses to mark the manner of Jesus' death andall the horrors perpetrated in the name of justice since.

One of the themes of Palm Sunday is the kingship of Jesus but,unlike a triumphant Roman hero, Jesus did not enter Jerusalem on astallion, crowned with laurels; rather he came on a donkey and theelegant robe put on him by Herod's soldiers was intended as a sickjoke (Matthew 27:27-31). A joke taken up later by theRoman soldiers as they cast lots for it saying, "If you are theKing of the Jews, save yourself!"

Also unlike a Roman hero, Jesus did not parade into Jerusalem witharmed soldiers and captured slaves (indeed, when one of Jesus'disciples had injured a slave in the arresting party, Jesus hadstopped the violence and healed him - Luke22:50-51). Rather, Jesus was accompanied by the "daughters ofJerusalem" - not only the women of the city, but all the poor wholived on the outskirts, beyond the protecting walls of the mothercity. Those who, like Jesus, were vulnerable to the politicalmachinations of kings.

Finally, unlike a Roman hero, Jesus had not been granted atriumphal procession by the leaders of the city for services to thestate. In fact the Roman occupiers and the Jewish national leaderscould not recognise Jesus' kingship as anything other than apolitical threat or as blasphemy. As is often the case today it wasnot the leaders, but rather ordinary people who could see what wasreally happening and share in its tragedy... a black man fromLibya, forced to carry the beam of Jesus' cross; a criminalcrucified with him; a centurion who heard him breathe his last; andthe women who had followed him from Galilee who stood at adistance, watching these things (verses 26-49).

To Ponder

How would you describe the horror of what ishappening in this passage?

In what circumstances do you think Christ isbeing condemned today? Who notices?

What do you think made Jesus - the king of theuniverse - subject himself to the political machinations of humanbeings?

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