April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday--John 12:9-19

This week we’ll be looking at the events leading up to Good Friday and Easter through the eyes of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. (See Jn. 11 for their story)
(By Cynthia Davis, 2009)

“Hurry up,” Mary tugged on her sister’s arm. “He will be going to Jerusalem again today.”
“You are acting like a 5 year old,” admonished the older woman, with a half smile. “I don’t know why you think we need to be there. Our brother will tell us everything that happens.”
“That’s why I want to be there. Lazarus leaves out the important details.”
“There are a lot of pilgrims for Passover this year,” Martha looked at the many campsites beside the road between Bethany and the capital.
“They have come to see Jesus,” her sister stated. “Come on, we won’t be able to see anything.”
She pushed her way forward through the crowds streaming toward the city. The two women were panting by the time they reached the top of the hill.
“Lazarus said the men were sleeping in the garden with the winepress,” Mary remarked as the women paused for a moment.
“That means he’ll be entering Jerusalem through the East Gate,” mused Martha.
“Come on! Something is happening,” Mary interrupted. She linked her arm with her sister.
“There He is,” several voices cried at once.
Together the two hurried to join a crowd shouting a confused cacophony of welcome.
“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
Men tossed their cloaks into the road to provide a pathway for a man on a small donkey. They shouted a joyful welcome.
“Glory to God in the Highest!”
Several of the men in the crowd pulled palm branches from the nearby trees.
“Hail to the King!” They shouted.
“Do you see Lazarus? I see Peter and John,” remarked Martha staring at the group close to the man and beast. “There is Nathaniel and James, too.”
Mary didn’t answer. She couldn’t suppress a giggle. “Jesus is riding a donkey. His feet almost touch the ground.”
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” An old man nearby intoned the passage from Zechariah.
Martha drew in a quick breath.
“The prophecies are falling into place,” mumbled the older woman. “He is entering Jerusalem on a donkey, through the eastern gate where Messiah is to come.”
Mary looked at her with surprise. “Why are you surprised? We already know that Jesus is Messiah!”
“We know that, but will the Pharisees believe? What will the Romans do?” The woman felt a slight chill. “You remember what he said the night when you brought out the perfume.”
The smile faded from Mary’s face. Slowly she nodded.
“I remember,” her reply was subdued. “He said, ‘Save this for my burial.’ I’ll always remember his look of love.”
The woman gripped her sister’s hand tightly.
“I am sure everything will be find,” Martha tried to smile. Even to her ears the words sounded unconvincing.
Around them the crowd continued to shout jubilantly. Some people gathered up their garments after Jesus and his disciples passed. Mary and Martha stared after the joyful parade.
“Come, we need to return to Bethany and prepare a meal for Lazarus,” Martha turned around. “We cannot follow the men into the Temple anyway.”
“Maybe Jesus will come home with him and we can ask what happened,” Mary sighed. “I wish I could see it myself.”

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