Yes or No


“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (NRSV, Luke 19:38)

Our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week brought out into the open those who were for him and those who were against him.  Had he come only as a prophet and not as a King, then the choice would have been either to listen and approve or to turn an unheeding ear.

But by proclaiming himself as their King, he forced the issue on those whom he claimed as his subjects – and that meant in particular the Jewish chief priests and rulers.  They were obliged either to accept that royal claim by their allegiance, or to reject it by their hostility; to submit to him or to overthrow him.

The issue was not really a political one but a moral one, a question of right and wrong, for the Jewish rulers were primarily religious and not political leaders.  Even though no one realised that Jesus was God made Man, everyone recognised that he was an incomparable spiritual leader and one who could always be relied on to do what was right and just, without fear or favour.  Therefore allegiance to him involved acceptance of what was right; equally, opposition to him meant the rejection of the rule of righteousness, therefore of the rule of God.

The first reaction was not slow in coming.  No sooner had Our Lord’s followers from Galilee, the most enthusiastic being his Apostles, no sooner had they shouted with patriotic fervour, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (NRSV, Luke 19:38), than at once some Pharisees pushed their way to the front and curtly requested him to call his disciples to order, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop”.  And he answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out” – at such a suppression of the truth (NRSV, Luke 19:38,39,40).

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