Day 23 – Blessed Is He!

Thursday – March 3, 2016

Day 23 – John 12:12-19 triumphal entry

Focus: v. 13

13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

The 1942 comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner stars Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan and Monty Woolley. Woolley plays a self-absorbed critic who slips and falls in front of the home a local factory owner. He takes over the house of Ernest Stanley and suddenly everyone’s life revolves around the famed critic Sheridan Whiteside and his grand personality. Sheridan has many friends and it’s Christmas time so crazy gifts keep showing up at the house including a box full of penguins.

At one point Whiteside’s old friend and actor Banjo shows up, played by Jimmy Durante, and makes an epic entrance. He sweeps into the house as big as life and goes on and on about his poor friend. He starts the scene by sweeping Whiteside’s nurse off her feet and carrying her about the room before planting a big kiss on her, despite her many complaints. He then strolls over to the piano and starts into one of his famous songs. He sings, “Did you ever have the feeling you wanted to go but then you had the feeling you wanted to stay . . ..”  It’s a magnificent scene and the one I look forward to the most every time the movie comes on the TV. It’s one of the grandest theatrical entrances of all time.

In acting terms that scene is a Stage Entrance or Theatrical Entrance. It’s the moment a new character is first introduced and the way it’s choreographed determines so much of how you, the viewer, sees the character. Will you love him or hate him? Will you boo him or cheer him? The director is there to help you see what that character is all about.

Cue the entrance of Jesus into the scene in Jerusalem at the start of the Passion Week. The people take palm branches and wave them around and lay them on the ground before him. They’re shouting phrases that belong to the Messiah. They are giving an entrance fit for a king and that’s exactly what Jesus is. By the end of this week He will be betrayed, put through a sham of a trial and sentenced to die in the worst way the Romans could come up with. But right now He’s given the grandest theatrical entrance you can imagine. The Divine Director is showing Jerusalem the real Jesus and giving them the opportunity to root for the real hero of the story.

This is the story of Jesus, the King. God is telling you exactly who this guy is and giving you the choice to accept it. By the end of the week you will have to choose which side you will be on. Are you rooting for the hero of the story or will you side with the mob that is shouting “Crucify him!” This is the choice all of us have to make in life. Do we accept Jesus as King of our hearts or do we reject Him. John is working on his case that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of all creation. The two lawyers are arguing their case and you are a member of the jury. Which side will you land on? How epic of an entrance does Jesus need to enter your heart?

Prayer Focus: Dear Jesus, You are my King. Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Help me to make you the King of my heart. Amen.