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Monday, April 10, 2017

Lancaster County country lane 4/9/17
A crooked fence on a country lane in Lancaster County. As we drove on this lane yesterday the uneven shadows from the fence rails caught our attention. We drove to the River Trail for a 3 mile walk with our dogs.

"Riding On A Lowly Donkey"

Message summary:
The righteous One who would pay the price for our salvation did not come into Jerusalem on a powerful horse, in glory and honor; He came in gentleness and humility, riding on a lowly donkey.

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“Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt” (John 12:14-15).

For many years we passed a donkey on Colebrook Road on our way home from Elizabethtown. Just before we'd reach the bend in the road I'd look in the rear view mirror, anticipating my mother leaning forward in her seat moving her gaze toward the window, and carefully perusing the approaching pasture land for a view of the neighborhood donkey. She'd get such a kick out of seeing it every time. Upon spotting the donkey, for some silly reason, we'd usually roll down the car window and collectively call out "Hee Haw" making a poor imitation of the donkey's bray. I'm not sure what the donkey thought of our ridiculous imitation. Eventually the family took down the fencing and got rid of the donkey, or perhaps it passed away, several years ago.

Horses are sometimes described as a majestic animal but donkeys would never be described in this way. They're smaller than most horses and not typically used for riding or work, at least not nearly to the extent a horse or its cousin, the mule, which is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.

Donkeys are referenced throughout the Bible with perhaps the most famous being Baalam’s talking donkey! However the donkey in our daily text had an important role during the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, being a part of the
fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy.

Palm Sunday Jesus riding a donkey
The various gospel accounts provided varying detail but in John’s record we merely read, “Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it.” This was a fulfillment of prophecy spoken of in Zechariah 9:9, "See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

How precisely this prophecy came to pass. Note the characteristics about Christ. “Your king coming to you, righteous, having salvation, gentle.” The righteous One who would pay the price for our salvation did not come into Jerusalem on a powerful horse, in glory and honor; He came in gentleness and humility, on a lowly donkey.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying woman
Daily Prayer: Father, our journey on earth is to be marked by gentleness and humility. There is no example greater than Jesus who left the glory and splendor of heaven to reside among sinful humankind. Though He was King of kings and Lord of lords He walked the lowly path of humility and laid aside His crown for a pauper's life. He did not assume His rightful place but humbly rode on the back of a donkey's colt. We're so thankful that Jesus didn't leave us before His mission was accomplished when the jubilant crowd turned into a jeering mob only days later. We long for the soon coming day when our faithful and true Savior who once rode on a donkey's colt will appear in the heavens riding on a white charger leading the army of saints into their home eternal. What a day, glorious day, that will be!  Amen.

Today we also especially pray for our brothers and sisters in Egypt after another horrific Islamic attack. Yesterday the guest preacher at the church we attended announced the attack (I was not aware at that point) and we prayed. Oh, how our hearts should go out for the suffering church.

John and Shanyse 4/9/17
We attended "In The Light Ministries", a Lancaster city church yesterday, specifically to visit John and Shanyse and to worship with them in their church, which Shanyse often refers to during our visits at her company. Following the service we had lunch together. John is from Rwanda and was nine years old when his family left due to the civil war in the mid-nineties, famously presented in the movie "Hotel Rwanda". His family was refugees in Congo and then Zambia before coming the USA when he was nineteen. His grandfather was one of the pioneering church planters in Rwanda. He has, as you might expect, a very interesting testimony that we hope to share in a future encouragement. Both John and Shanyse are fervent followers and servants of Christ!

Sonny and Pat Oliver 4/9/17
Yesterday we visited for a few minutes with Sonny and Pat Oliver after church. Sonny has a remarkable testimony of salvation growing up in Chicago during the 60's. We met him in Bible College and he serves as a staff pastor at "In The Light Ministries". Pat, who is musically gifted, led the Teen Challenge choir for many years. What a blessing to see such steadfastness in their Christian walk and service for Christ! And there's nothing like a big bear hug from Sonny!

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"It's Still The Cross"  Video   Gold City

Additional study note: In studying today's text I was struck by the verse that immediately follows: "These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him” (John 12:16). This seems to be speaking of the entire events of the Triumphal Entry and even more generally Holy Week, not just the donkey. I think there is a lesson here for us when it comes to things that seem mysterious or confusing to us but we accept by faith. Some things we just don't understand when they happen but we will at a future time either here on earth or in heaven.

Friday's Message follow up:  David Penley, a seminary professor from SWBTS in Texas, shared this thought regarding Friday's message on spitting: "Jesus uses another onomatopoeia in Matthew 5:22 when He uses the word "raca." It means seeing someone as being worthless. It comes from the sound you make when you are drawing saliva from your throat to spit at someone."

Congratulation Ester! She has five photos from a concert Saturday night up on the WJTL Flicker site

(We will leave the following materials up throughout the week.)

“It's Still The Cross!”

(A selection of Scripture verses focusing on the Cross for personal, family or congregational reading.)

Pastor: Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:18

Congregation: This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. Acts 2:23

Pastor:  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Congregation: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

Pastor: By abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  Ephesians 2:15-17

Congregation: He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name.  Philippians 2:7-9  

Pastor: For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19,20 

Congregation: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13,14

All: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3

Major Events of the Passion Week

Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46
  • Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6
  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12
  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30
  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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