Posted by: pmarkrobb | March 28, 2021

deep purpose in His peruse

The time had come for redemption’s plan to be fulfilled. Every moment of Jesus’ coming and living and ministering was tilted in the direction of this watershed week. Every word and deed and detail in His life was purposed and it would be powerfully and exponentially so beginning today … parade day.

As Jesus and his disciples neared the very same place He would surrender to the Roman guards in the Garden, He paused to begin His surrender to the Father’s plan of redemption. At the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave explicit instructions to two of his disciples to go ahead and retrieve a young donkey. They found it exactly as He said and answered the questioning onlookers exactly as He had instructed. The Lord was borrowing the burro and would return it. I wonder whose job that was, to leave the city amid all the buzz and walk the donkey back from whence it came? There’s every reason to believe it was the two, and I can only imagine what they talked about along the way there and back. To some degree, they were used to things happening as the Master said and for reasons that didn’t resemble the earthly ones they were accustomed to. They had been learning to just do as the Master said and then watch.

The city of Jerusalem was bursting at the seams and bustling with the business of Passover. That “business” was in Jesus’ sights that day. He was riding into the city as its King, for sure, but not to be crowned (that would happen, but not today). There are 10x more verses written in Mark’s gospel account of about Jesus’ preparing and the parade on “Palm Sunday,” but there is one that speaks very subtly yet pointedly to a core purpose of today. Mark 11:11 (ESV) says, “And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.”

The word translated as “looked around” has a far more purposed connotation than the English translation may suggest. This was no browse through Housewares, this was an intentional and thorough observation of the current state of things in God’s house. For years I completely missed this verse — to the detriment of my understanding of the turning over the tables Jesus would do tomorrow. Absent this understanding, Jesus’ actions can be perceived to be the equivalent of a temple “tirade” or “tantrum.” With this understanding, one can see what it truly was – righteous anger and a rooting out of the cancer that was poisoning God’s house with the precision of a scalpel. Jesus’ problem was not with the pilgrims, it was with the profiteers. And He had a look around today to be certain his actions tomorrow were targeted and thorough.

The arc of my writing this week begins with an emphasis on “as it was already late,” and will land on the last day “while it was still dark.” Setting and rising sun bookends in the story of this sacred week in the life of the dying and rising Son. We should not miss the purpose in today’s parade. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a humble beast to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah as a King. But let us also not miss the deep purpose in His peruse. He looked around in order to root out. His house cleaning would wait a day. What a pattern for our own lives in how we respond to the things which offend and anger us. What a week that’s just begun!

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