Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lent

We're just about half-way into Lent and as I was working through John 12 today for class, I was reminded of how pivotal the scene of the 'Triumphal Entry' was for all the Evangelists. I thought it would be interesting to see how each Evangelist portrayed the proclamation of "Hosanna." We often overlook this because of our familiarity with the Passion Narratives, but each Evangelist has a distinctive flavor that makes these readings worthy of reflection.

Matthew 21:8-9
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

Mark 11:8-10
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

Luke 19:37-38
As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!"

John 12:12-13
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord-- the King of Israel!"


Of course the larger narrative should be read and understood before we can comment at length about these short passages, but I find it fascinating that even a small snippet of a scene of the triumphal entry reveals something about the viewpoint of each of the Evangelists vis-à-vis their understanding of the person of Jesus Christ and the role that he plays within the narrative of Israel and/or God's kingdom.

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