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Jesus valued the praise of even the youngest

September 14, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Matthew 21:8-9, 14-16


(This week we share videos highlighting ways members of the Resurrection family have shared faith. Today LaDonna Williams-Hunt tells us about how she is passing on her faith to her grandchildren.)

8 Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord [Psalm 118:26]! Hosanna in the highest!”

14 People who were blind and lame came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and legal experts saw the amazing things he was doing and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were angry. 16 They said to Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” he answered. “Haven’t you ever read, From the mouths of babies and infants you’ve arranged praise for yourself?” [Psalm 8:2 from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament].

Daily Reflection & Prayer

When Jesus entered Jerusalem (now we call it “Palm Sunday”), children shouted his praises. To defend them from his enemies, Jesus quoted the Bible, but from the Greek translation of the Psalms. Why? This may explain it: “The Hebrew reads ‘strength’ instead of ‘praise.’ Jewish interpreters frequently chose the textual tradition or translation that best communicated their point. The primary language of the Sadducees was probably Greek (the dominant language of their tomb inscriptions).” *

  • Jesus rode into Jerusalem the way a king who came in peace would (cf. Zechariah 9:9). Why did that make “the chief priests and legal experts” angry? “The aristocratic priests belonged to Jerusalem’s wealthy ruling class…. they probably have political objections.” ** Some Israelites profited from dealing with Rome; others wanted a military king like David who led Israel to victories in war. But children praised a gentle “Son of David” who said to love your enemies. Do you?
  • It’s unlikely that the children who shouted that Jesus was the “Son of David” analyzed that title’s theological fine points. The “proper” religious authorities objected both to the shouting and to what it might imply, but Jesus said he valued the children’s joy. At Resurrection, we say our journey is “to know, love and serve God.” How can you “know God” by thinking clearly and precisely without losing the ability to “love God” through joyful praise like the children’s that day at the Temple?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me learn all I can about your saving life, death and resurrection while retaining and passing on the ability to simply cry with joy, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Amen.

GPS Insights

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

Last week I celebrated my 22nd work anniversary at Resurrection. 22 years! Wild! When I was young, I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that I would have worked at a church, let alone for 22 years. It got me reflecting over all that I’ve seen and done while I’ve been on staff. My first role at the church was working with young adults (20-year-olds). I loved helping people my age find connection in a community where they could come to know and love Jesus. After six and a half years, I moved into Human Resources. As the church changed and grew, so did I. I now serve as the Lead Director of Human Resources. I get to work with an amazing team to support all areas of ministry within the church. I love it. I really do. I am blown away by the impact God makes through this church on individuals, on families, on communities, and around the world!

It’s easy for me to think of my journey at the church as beginning 22 years ago. However, it really began long before then. I grew up in a United Methodist church in Garden City, KS. There wasn’t a church activity I wasn’t involved in–Sunday school, VBS, children’s choir, youth choir, bell choir, youth group, small groups, retreats, camps, mission trips… you name it, and I did it. I was at the church at least twice a week without fail. It was through these opportunities that I came to know who God was, how I could experience his love and mercy, and how I could be a part of his larger journey. I am incredibly grateful for the volunteers and staff that poured into me over that time–Ann, Mary Lou, Janine, Greg, Mark, Joyce, Stuart, and so many more. I don’t think Ann, Mary Lou, Janine, or any of the others gave their time to kids and students in hopes that they would one day work at a church, but had it not been for them, I certainly would not have.

Right now, there are future church leaders, future business owners, future teachers, future medical professionals, future authors, future politicians, future moms, and future dads who are sitting in Kids Sunday school classes or youth groups on Wednesday night. My hope is that one day they will look back and think about how our church was there for them. I want them to be able to say, “I grew up in a church that created amazing opportunities for me to know and love God.” To be successful, it takes volunteers, space, resources, and a true passion for the next generation. It’s our responsibility to pour into them now, so that as they grow, they do so in the hope and light of Christ.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 220544-220546). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
** HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 220539-220542). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.