Hosanna and Reflection on Ash Wednesday (Lent Series Week 1)

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Hosanna and Reflection on Ash Wednesday (Lent Series Week 1)

Read Matthew 21:1-11

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Reading this today, Ash Wednesday, seems a bit ironic at first. On Ash Wednesday, much of Christendom is focused on confession, repentance and sorrow over sin. In Ash Wednesday services all over the world, clergy and elders will apply ashes in the shape of a cross to the foreheads of repentant congregants. There is solemnity on this day. Contriteness. Humility comes with the realization that we are sinful and in need of the forgiveness found in the gracious Son of God.

Our solemn church ritual presents a dramatic contrast to the image of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Upon his arrival, an adoring public crowded around to worship him. They threw their cloaks and tree branches to cover the road in front of him and used words of worship for the God who sent him. It was a scene of great joy! A scene of excitement! It was the opposite of our traditionally quiet Ash Wednesday introspection.

Perhaps it’s not as strange as it seems. Maybe worship and solemn reflection go together. After all, doesn’t worship of God lead us to humble repentance? How can we joyfully anticipate the power of Easter Sunday without mournfully remembering our weakness?

The solemnity and joy go together beautifully. On Ash Wednesday, we enter 47 days of solemn confession and repentance to prepare for the most joyful celebration of them all: Easter.

There is another beautiful aspect of this moment in Jesus’ journey. Those who proclaim “Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord” (vs 9) hit the nail on the head. The man humbly riding on a donkey had indeed come in the name of the Lord. It may not have seemed like it when he hung from a tree on Good Friday, but it became obvious when he walked out of the grave on Easter Sunday.

Through the next 47 days, let us remember that Jesus is not God because he was resurrected – he was resurrected because he is God. He has been God forever, and he will be God forever. He was God when he created the world by the power of his spoken word, when he was born in a manger, when he chose his disciples, when he healed the sick and when he rode into Jerusalem.

In the coming weeks, my prayer is that you will allow yourself to be just like the crowd the day he arrived in Jerusalem: they worshiped and they wondered. (vs 9-10) I pray that you will come to Jesus with a new sense of worship and wonder in this Lenten season. Worship the King who has come, and repent as the sinner you are. It is a season for both.

Reflection

  • What is the most difficult thing you need to repent of?
  • What is the most wonderful thing about Jesus?

Spend the day prayerfully thinking about how your answers intersect on Ash Wednesday.

Check out the next post in our Lenten devotional here.

This was an excerpt from Easter is Coming, a Devotional Journey with Jesus. For all six weeks of Lent devotionals, please download the e-book here.

About The Author
Chris Greer
Chris Greer
Hi y’all! My name is Christopher and I live in Costa Mesa, CA with my amazing wife, Kerry. I’m a writer and a Young Adult Pastor at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA. And this is how good God is: I was born in the greatest state in the Union (Texas!) and I now live, work, and write in one of the most beautiful places on the planet (Southern California!). Life is good. I am excited that you have found Trochia, a place online to be mentored through God’s grace and truth. God has used mentorship relationships to change my life. Keenan, my friend and former boss helped me to see that my work and relationships were about far more than just “getting the job done.” My current mentor, Stan, is a Christian author who has taught me that Christians (no matter what age) can be intellectually engaged with God and culture in a way that is current, fun, and makes disciples. And I’m forever thankful to God for my parents who are my most influential mentors in faith, marriage, family, and life. Without mentorship, I would not be the man I am. That is why mentorship, along with God’s calling for us to “make disciples” and “teach them to obey everything that [He] commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20), is part of everything I do as a writer and as a young adult pastor. I hope that Trochia will be a resource that helps you receive God’s grace and understand His truth, so that you can take one obedient step after another and mentor others along the way. Check out my two latest devotional books: Easter Is Coming and Christmas Is Coming, available through Amazon.com.
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