March 29 | Bible in a Year: Judges 4–6; Luke 4:31–44
From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.
READ Matthew 21:12–17
“Watch my fairy princess dance, Grandma!” my three-year-old granddaughter gleefully called as she raced around the yard of our cabin, a big grin on her face. Her “dancing” brought a smile; and her big brother’s glum, “She’s not dancing, just running,” didn’t squelch her joy at being on vacation with family.
The first Palm Sunday was a day of highs and lows. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowds enthusiastically shouted, “Hosanna! . . . Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9). Yet many in the crowd were expecting a Messiah to free them from Rome, not a Savior who would die for their sins that same week.
Later that day, despite the anger of the chief priests who questioned Jesus’ authority, children in the temple expressed their joy by shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (v. 15), perhaps leaping and waving palm branches as they ran around the courtyard. They couldn’t help but worship Him, Jesus told the indignant leaders, for “from the lips of children and infants [God has] called forth [His] praise” (v. 16). They were in the presence of the Savior!
Jesus invites us to also see Him for who He is. When we do, like a child overflowing with joy, we can’t help but revel in His presence.
By Alyson Kieda
REFLECT & PRAY
How do the daily distractions and discontent of others draw your focus away from God? What will help you to keep your eyes on Jesus?
Loving God, thank You for all You’ve done for me! I’m amazed at the great lengths You went to so that I could find joy in You. Help me to keep my focus firmly on You.
Matthew’s gospel begins, “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David” (Matthew 1:1). Such was the hope of the crowd that welcomed Christ into Jerusalem soon after He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 12:9–15). But Matthew moves quickly to an awkward moment. He describes how Jesus visited the temple to bare His heart and drive out the money-changers (Matthew 21:12–13), echoing the words of the prophets who spoke of a house of prayer that had become a den of thieves (Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11).
Tension must have been in the air as Jesus walked into the courtyard to heal those who couldn’t see or walk. For fear of the religious leaders, adults in the crowd probably realized this wasn’t the time or place to declare Him king. It was left to the little ones to celebrate, in all their innocence, the implications of Jesus’ miracles (Matthew 21:15)—in contrast to teachers of the law who were secretly planning to kill the Son of David.