Peter in Prison

Bible:

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Acts 12:1-5 ESV

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” Revelation 11:15-18 ESV

Reflection:

Do you remember when King David’s son Absalom was trying to take his father’s throne from him, and there was a battle between David’s men and Absalom’s men? King David wanted to go out and fight with his armies, but they didn’t let him do that. They needed to protect their king, because if he died, everything would be lost. Other people weren’t as important, because only David had the throne. So King David stayed behind and didn’t fight with his men.

King Herod started to persecute the early church. He killed one of the apostles, James, who was John’s brother, and in doing that he removed a very important leader in the church. The Jewish religious leaders were very happy that Herod had done this, and so he decided to go after the apostle in the early church who seemed to be the most powerful person of all. Herod arrested Peter and put him in prison, and his plan was to put him to death also. He might have thought that he had captured the king of the church, and that killing him would be the end of the church. The other believers might have felt a little like that, too. What would they do without Peter? They were very upset, and they prayed together very hard that God would take care of Peter and set him free.

The truth is that Peter wasn’t the king of the church. Jesus was the king, and he still is. Sometimes terrible things seem to happen to Christians, and we wonder why God allows such things to happen, and how we will survive. But God reminds us that Jesus is our king forever, and that there’s nothing that can put an end to his rule. When he lived among us on earth, he was put to death on the cross, and it seemed as if that were the end of everything. But Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday, and because of that, we know that he has defeated sin and death and all the forces of evil, and that there is nothing that will ever put an end to his love and care for his people. We can always put our trust in Jesus, no matter what happens.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our king and for taking care of your church. Help us to trust in you when things seem hard. Amen.

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Jesus Ascends to Heaven

Bible:

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11 ESV

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke 24:50-52 ESV

Reflection:

Have you ever seen a baby monitor? A baby monitor is useful for parents when their babies are asleep in a different room. The parents can look at the monitor and see how their baby is doing, and if he or she is asleep or if the baby is okay. They can also hear if the baby cries or any other noise in the bedroom. The baby can’t see the parents watching, but they are there, and they can help their baby if there is a problem.

When Jesus went up to heaven, he hadn’t broken the promise that he would always be with his people. The Lord hadn’t left the disciples he loved, but he took away the ability for them to see him and to touch him. Jesus reclaimed his power and authority as the king who rules with God the Father, and because of that, he can be with everyone and help and hear the prayers of all people all the time, all over the world. He doesn’t just help us when he sees we’re in trouble and need his help, but instead he is constantly with us to show his love and tell his message through us. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit so that his people could be his witnesses. We can tell others what Jesus has done for us, and we don’t have to worry about what God is doing through the history and events of this world. Jesus told his disciples to leave the times and seasons to God, their Heavenly Father, and to focus on what he has given us to do.

There were two men in white robes who appeared to the disciples as they kept looking up into heaven after Jesus had disappeared from their sight. These actually were angels, and  they told the disciples that Jesus would someday return. When that happens, everyone will see him. This is a wonderful promise for everyone who believes that he died to take our sins away. We know that when Jesus comes again, he will take us to be with him forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being with us and being our king, and for taking care of and helping people all around the world. Amen.

The Great Commission

Bible:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 ESV

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. II Corinthians 5:18-21 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a story that, while Jesus lived on earth, he got a letter from the king of a city called Edessa. This king, named Abgarus, had heard about Jesus and that he could heal the sick, and the king believed that Jesus must be the Son of God. King Abgarus was sick, and he invited Jesus to come and visit him and heal him. The king said that he would welcome Jesus into his city. Jesus answered King Abgarus’ letter and said that he had to do what God had sent him to do and then return to heaven, so he couldn’t come to Edessa. However, he said that after that he would send one of his disciples to the king, who would cure him of his disease and give life to everyone in the city.

This story may not be true, but it tells something that is true. Jesus completely finished the work his Heavenly Father had given him to do. He died to pay for the sins of the whole world, and then rose again from the dead to defeat death and win eternal life for everyone who believes in him. But Jesus also left work for his people to do. When he met again with his disciples in Galilee, he told them that they should go to all the people from all over the world and make disciples for him. They should teach people everything that Jesus had taught them, and give them the gift of new life by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus gave a wonderful promise. He said that he would be with them until the world and time would come to an end.

Jesus continues his work today through his people. We are part of what he told his first disciples to do. We share the good news of his love and forgiveness with people we meet as we go through life, and we also send and support missionaries to take the Gospel to people from other parts of the world. Not only do we have the privilege of having Jesus work through us, but we also have the promise that he will be with us always, no matter what.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for sending us to share your good news with others, and for being with us and working through us. Amen.

Source:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/lbob/lbob09.htm

The King of the Jews

Bible:

There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” John 19:18-22 ESV

May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!
May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts!
May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him! Psalm 72:5-11 ESV

Reflection:

In 1831, a man named Louis-Phillipe was the king of France. This king was given a huge amount of money as his salary, 18 million francs a year, while at the same time most of his people were terribly poor. A man named Honore Daumier drew a political cartoon that made fun of the king and showed how terribly selfish he was. It showed a very fat king sitting on his throne and being fed bag after bag of money. The money was coming to his mouth up a ramp, and was being hauled up by laborers. Many poor people were standing around, looking very sad, waiting to add their money to bags that were being fed to the king. This cartoon was called Gargantua, but it never made it to the newspaper, because government censors stopped it from being published.

When Jesus was crucified, Pontius Pilate used the situation to make fun of the Jews who had given him so much trouble. A criminal who was crucified would have a notice on his cross telling everyone what the crime was, and the notice that Pilate put on Jesus’ cross was, “The King of the Jews.” This notice made Jesus an insulting picture of the kind of king the Jews had and the way they treated their king. The religious leaders understood that Pontius Pilate was making fun of them. They asked Pilate to change the sign to say, “This man said, I am the King of the Jews,” but the governor wouldn’t change it.

Pilate wanted to make fun of the Jewish leaders, but he didn’t know that he was actually telling the truth. Jesus is the king, not only of the Jews but of all people. Not all people believe in Jesus as their king, but everyone will have to bow to him one day when he comes again as our judge. Because Jesus died to make us his own people, everyone who believes in him will be part of his heavenly kingdom forever, and we will someday completely see what a powerful and wonderful king he is.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our king and for dying for us. Amen.

Source:

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-daumier-honore-artworks.htm

Not Caesar’s Friend

Bible:

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:12-15 ESV

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. I Timothy 6:13-16 ESV

Reflection:

Pontius Pilate had a lot of trouble while he was the governor of Judea. Once he had his Roman troops march into Jerusalem carrying Roman standards. These standards would have included medallions or busts with the emperor’s image on them, and the Jewish people saw these images as idols that were a blasphemy against the true God, and they held a five- day massive demonstration until Pilate removed the standards. Then, the governor built an aqueduct to bring water into Jerusalem, but he used some of the temple money to pay for it. Again, this made the Jewish people furious, and they started another riot. Roman troops put down this riot, and some people were killed when this happened. Finally, Pilate set up several golden shields dedicated to Tiberius Caesar in his Jerusalem headquarters, and this also made the Jewish people as well as Herod  so angry that they sent a protest to Tiberius, who was annoyed by the trouble and told Pilate to move the shields somewhere else and to respect the Jewish religious customs.

Now Jesus was on trial, and Pontius Pilate was sure that he was innocent and wanted to set him free, but the religious leaders knew how to make the governor do what they wanted. They said that if he set Jesus free, he wouldn’t be a friend of Caesar’s. Since Jesus had claimed to be a king, anyone who supported the Roman government should see Jesus as a criminal who had to die, they said. When Pilate brought Jesus out to stand before them, he said, “Behold your king!” But the crowd replied, “We have no king but Caesar!” They were threatening Pilate that they would complain to Tiberius Caesar again if he didn’t do what they wanted, and Pilate knew they could get him into serious trouble if they did that.

Jesus truly is a king, and he is the king above all kings. He deserves our respect and obedience more than any earthly ruler or leader, but sometimes we are like Pontius Pilate. We become afraid of getting into trouble for following the ways of Jesus, so sometimes we do and say things that are disloyal to Jesus to stay out of trouble. Jesus has the authority to give us worse punishment than any earthly ruler could, but instead he comes to call us back to him. He died on the cross to pay for all our sins of disloyalty and disobedience, and he forgives us and calls us his people. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us to be strong and courageous and to live in ways that please him.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us. Help us to obey you as our king and our Lord. Amen.

Source:

Maier, Paul L. In the Fullness of Time San Francisco: Harper, 1991, pp.148-149.

Making Fun of Jesus

Bible:

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. Luke 23:4-11 ESV

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 ESV

Reflection:

In the Middle Ages in Europe, as well as in other parts of the world, there were people who were known as court jesters. A court jester was a clown whose job was to keep the king or a noble person entertained. Sometimes a jester would wear donkey ears and even a donkey tail, or perhaps a hat with three points with a jingle bell on each point. A jester’s clothes were usually many bright, cheerful colors. Kings and nobles had a lot of worries and responsibilities, and the jester needed to make his king or noble laugh and help him relax and feel entertained by telling him and the other people in his court jokes and stories, singing and making music, and doing acrobatics and tricks such as juggling.

Herod expected Jesus to act like a jester for him. He had heard about Jesus and that he had performed some incredible miracles, and Herod hoped that Jesus would so something amazing that he could watch. But Jesus never did miracles to entertain people, and he wouldn’t do that for Herod. He wouldn’t even answer Herod’s questions at all. So Herod and his soldiers decided to have their own fun with Jesus. They made fun of him and put splendid, kingly clothing on him. This wasn’t because they respected Jesus, but instead to make fun of him because some people called him a king. When Herod was done entertaining himself with Jesus, he sent him back to Pontius Pilate.

Some people still like to make fun of Jesus and the things he said and did, and other people might seem to treat Jesus with more respect, but they really are only interested in Jesus doing good and amazing things for them. Sometimes we do that too, because we are sinful and selfish and want to use Jesus for our own purposes. But Jesus is God, and he isn’t to be mocked or used in any way. We deserve God’s judgment for misusing Jesus, but he allowed himself to be made fun of so that he could go to the cross and pay for all our sins. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us to turn away from our sinful attitudes and to love and respect Jesus as our King and our Lord.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please forgive us for the times we are selfish and try to use you for our own purposes. Help us to love and serve you instead. Amen.

Source:

http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-life/medieval-jesters.htm

A Kingdom Not of this World

Bible:

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” John 18:33-38 ESV

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” Revelation 11:15-18 ESV

Reflection:

People who are subjects of the United Kingdom are subjects to the king or queen of England and of the United Kingdom. As I write, England has a queen, and if one of her subjects meets her, a man should bow, and a woman should curtsey. However, when the queen visited the United States several years ago, the American people who met her didn’t have to bow or curtsey, because she wasn’t their queen. Americans aren’t British subjects, and the queen wasn’t in her own country. She was a queen, but her kingdom was in another place and among other people.

Jesus said something a little like that. Pontius Pilate took him inside his headquarters so he could ask him some questions. He asked Jesus if he were the King of the Jews. Pilate wasn’t a Jew, so even if Jesus were the King of the Jews, he wouldn’t be Pontius Pilate’s king. Then Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world, because if it had been, then his followers would have fought for him. But he was a king of another kind of a kingdom that would come about in another place and time. He had come to this time to tell the truth about who he was and what kind of kingdom he ruled. Anyone who listened to Jesus would know him as the truth and be part of his kingdom. None of this made any sense to Pontius Pilate. “What is truth?” he asked.

We know that Jesus himself is the truth, and that his kingdom is one that will last forever. Jesus came to bring us into his kingdom by dying on the cross for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could become his people. He rules now in the hearts of his people, and when he comes again his kingdom will be established forever. We will know the joy of serving Jesus as our king for all eternity.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our king and for bringing us into your kingdom forever. Amen.

Source:

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/International/story?id=7228105&page=1

The World Hates You

Bible:

[Jesus said:] “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not  greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’” John 15:18-25 ESV

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. II Timothy 3:12-13 ESV

Reflection:

In the late 1800s, the Roman Catholic church sent some missionaries to what is now Uganda, in Africa, to the Bantu-speaking people. The king of the people, Mutesa, allowed both Catholic and Protestant missionaries to work in his country, but the next king, Mwanga, began to persecute Christians. He put to death several Roman Catholic leaders, and when a man named Joseph Mukasa, who was a member of the royal household and a Christian, objected to the king about this, the king put Mukasa to death also. Young men who had worked for Mukasa had been studying to be baptized, and when King Mwanga heard about this, he arrested all of these young men. They were all put to death. The king continued to persecute both Catholic and Protestant Christians in his country.

Jesus warned his disciples that the world would hate them, because the world hated him first. Around the world, and throughout history, Christians have faced persecution for their faith in Jesus. The reason this happens is because the world is broken with sin, but many people don’t want to hear that they are sinners and that they deserve God’s judgment. People don’t want to follow God’s ways, and instead they hate God because he judges them and calls them to turn away from their sins.

We also don’t always like to hear and remember that we are sinners. We feel frightened and angry at the thought of facing God’s judgment. But Jesus didn’t only come to speak words of judgment to the world. He also came to save people from sin and judgment. When Jesus went to the cross, he took all of God’s judgment onto himself, and anyone who believes in him has forgiveness and knows the love of God. We can face any hatred and persecution the world has to give through the strength we have in Jesus’ love.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for taking God’s judgment on yourself. Please give us strength when we face the hatred of this world. Amen.

Source:

https://www.britannica.com/event/Martyrs-of-Uganda

The Very Stones Would Cry Out

Bible:

And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:39-40 ESV

Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house,
to set his nest on high,
to be safe from the reach of harm!
You have devised shame for your house
by cutting off many peoples;
you have forfeited your life.
For the stone will cry out from the wall,
and the beam from the woodwork respond. Habakkuk 2:9-11 ESV

Reflection:

In our second Bible reading, the prophet Habakkuk talks about people who were using their houses to cheat people and get more money for themselves. Habakkuk said that the stones of the walls of the house would cry out against these evil acts, and also the wooden beams would tell about the terrible things the owner of the house was doing. Wood and stones don’t talk, of course, and they don’t see or hear or think. But the prophet used the idea of stones crying out to say that something so terrible was happening that the stones of these houses would cry out, if only they could see and hear and were able to talk!

Jesus used a similar picture after he entered Jerusalem on a donkey, and all his followers and the crowds were shouting, “Hosanna!” They were saying that Jesus was their king and their Messiah, and they were praising him for being ready to save them. The Pharisees didn’t like this at all. They told Jesus to stop his disciples from praising him, but Jesus said that if the people were silent, the stones would cry out. He was saying that if the stones could see and hear and know and talk, they would see that Jesus was the Messiah and the king who had come to make all things new in the whole universe, and they would praise him.

Jesus is our Savior and our king, and he came to bring us back from the sin and death that has spoiled all of God’s creation. His death and resurrection defeated all the forces of evil that held everything captive, and we are now God’s people and part of his kingdom. Someday Jesus will return and completely bring death and evil to an end, and we will live forever in the new heaven and new earth, where everything in his new creation will praise and bring glory to him.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to make everything new. Help us to praise you always. Amen.

A Very Special Donkey

Bible:

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.  And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:1-10 ESV

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 ESV

Reflection:

Have you ever heard the story of the Palm Sunday donkey? He was the little donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem while people sang praises to their king and waved palm branches and put them in the road. Jesus knew this little donkey and had sent his disciples to find him, and the donkey knew he had been given a very special job. He was very honored to carry a king into the holy city of Jerusalem. But then sad things began to happen. Only a few days later, Jesus was put on a cross to die, and the little donkey was there when it happened. He stood and watched while Jesus died, and the shadow of the cross fell across his back. God let the shadow stay on the faithful little donkey, and today if you see a donkey, you will usually see a cross on his shoulders and back. This cross is a reminder of the very special job he had on Palm Sunday.

This is only a story, but it tells something that is true. Jesus didn’t ride a magnificent horse into Jerusalem that day, but instead he came humbly, riding on a donkey. Crowds of people praised him as their king and Savior, but they didn’t realize what was about to happen to him. Jesus didn’t come into Jerusalem to overthrow the Roman government and to give the Jewish people independence and freedom. They might have expected this, but Jesus knew he was coming to die on the cross. The story of the Palm Sunday donkey helps us remember that Jesus was a humble king who had come to give his life for his people.

Jesus died on the cross for all people everywhere, and that includes us. Everyone who believes in Jesus knows the forgiveness of sins and becomes part of his kingdom. We serve a humble king, and that means that we are willing to help and serve other people rather than wanting to be powerful and to have our own way. We are a little like the Palm Sunday donkey. We might not have the shadow of the cross on our backs, but when people see the ways we are willing to help and to serve, they can see the cross of Jesus in our lives.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being a humble king who died on the cross for us. Amen.