Monday, October 21, 2013

The Power of Peace

As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem the crowd grows larger. Jews flocked to Jerusalem from every corner of the world to celebrate Passover. The holiday commemorated the deliverance of God’s people from slavery in Egypt. It was a combination of Thanksgiving and the 4th of July.

It was a time of high expectation; people would get excited about the possibility that – maybe today -- Messiah would come. There was tension in Jerusalem. Everyone was talking about Jesus. Passover was only a few days away. Would Jesus make a move? What would the authorities do?

Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as the people waved palms and shouted Hosanna (save us). Many spread their garments on the road (Mark 11:8) in the same way they did when Israel's King Jehu entered Jerusalem (2 Kings 9:13). The prophet Zechariah predicted, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)

Jesus made an important statement about the character of his kingship by riding a donkey rather than a horse. In the East, when a king rode a donkey into a city it was a declaration that he came in peace; when the king rode a horse into a city it was a declaration of war. Jesus arrived as the Prince of Peace.

There is power in the way of peace. When a city council blocked the establishment of a proposed AIDS hospice, Mother Teresa got on her knees before the council and begged to allow the hospice to open – IT DID. Mother Teresa had no political power but she had influence earned by ministering to the dying on the streets of Calcutta.

Hard ball politics is not the way of Jesus. When the Montgomery Bus Boycott threatened to turn violent, Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to national leadership by advocating non-violence. He held no political office but wielded influence by using the words and attitude of Jesus

Like a tiny mustard seed the influence of God would grow. Like yeast it is unseen but powerful.

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,”
says the LORD Almighty

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