Sunday reflection: Matthew 21:1-11

posted at 10:01 am on April 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection only represents my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion.Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here For previous Green Room entries, click here.

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 21:1–11 (for the procession reading):

When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.” This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: Say to daughter Zion, “Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

For the Mass, the Gospel reading is Matthew 27:11–54 (short form):

Jesus stood before the governor, Pontius Pilate, who questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed. 

Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over. While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him.” The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus. The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Let him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.” And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha —which means Place of the Skull—, they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink. After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” The revolutionaries who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.” But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Passion will play out in our Gospel reading at Mass; most will get the longer form of Matthew 26:14-27:66 rather than the short form from the lectionary above, the full and rich reading that begins with Judas’ initial act of betrayal of Jesus, and ends with the sealing of the tomb. For today’s reflection, though, the focus will be on the procession Gospel — and perhaps the first part of the longer reading as well.

Both readings are from Matthew, but let’s take a look at what precedes the procession Gospel in John. In John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in front of a large crowd in Bethany. He stayed with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus for a few days afterward, while John reports that the authorities in Jerusalem plotted to have Jesus killed after hearing of this miracle. In fact, they also plot to have Lazarus killed, John tells us in chapter 12, after wondering in the previous chapter whether Jesus would dare to show up in Jerusalem at all for the Passover.

Despite all of this, the large crowd noted in Matthew that attended Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem came mainly because of this mighty miracle performed in Bethany. In John 12:17-18 (Ignatius), we read that “The crowd that had been with him when he called Laz’arus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.” Some of the crowd may have been from Jerusalem or other areas, but a large part of those hailing his entry into the city had either direct or second-hand knowledge of Jesus’ calling of Lazarus from the tomb.

All of these people celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. By the end of the week, not even all of His disciples stood by him as he was put to death. In just a few days, one of them would accept a bribe to help capture him, and the next day the crowds in Jerusalem would shout for Barabbas rather than the man who raised Lazarus from the tomb. The abandonment of such a figure in such a short period of time is nothing less than astonishing — especially considering the singular nature of Jesus’ final miracle in Bethany just the week before. The rejection of Jesus was all but total, even among those who knew He was at least a mighty prophet, and one has to assume that they must have spoken of what they had seen in Bethany and elsewhere to others in Jerusalem.

What happened?  The Pharisees feared that Jesus would proclaim Himself the Messiah, while the crowds in Jerusalem hoped he would do so — but neither group was prepared for the true nature of the Messiah. They expected Jesus to expel the Romans from Jerusalem, but His first act on arriving in the city was to eject Jewish moneychangers from the Temple, and then left the city for the evening (Matthew 21:17). Jesus didn’t challenge Roman authority; he challenged the Temple authorities. Instead of going to war to make Judea rise again, Matthew 23 consists of Jesus condemning the scribes and Pharisees and predicting the destruction of Jerusalem to start chapter 24.

Do we not also do this, though, especially when the Messiah does not meet our definitions? Certainly, it’s easy to craft our own image of Jesus in a way that suits our comfort best — as a kind teacher, a healer, a mediator — and rejecting the Jesus that challenges our assumptions and our desires. When Jesus works for us and coincides with our own ambitions, we grab palm branches and pay homage. When Jesus reminds us of our duty to God and each other, we suddenly find somewhere else to be, or worse, find a lesser figure to champion instead.

Too often, we either want to compartmentalize our faith, or worse yet, think of faith as justifying our own worldview rather than having our worldview informed by our faith. When faith challenges part of that worldview, especially if it means standing with few of our friends on a point of faith and practice, we all struggle with which to give our loyalty. That’s true even for those of us who have felt Jesus’ presence in our lives, and have seen God’s hand in events that have unfolded for us. During those times, waving a palm branch and praising the Lord is the easiest thing in the world. When our agendas get challenged by our faith, we sometimes lose enthusiasm for waving those palm branches. That’s when we try to fit Jesus into agendas, or reduce His teaching to bromides and philosophy.

Two other Gospel stories are parallels to this. One is that of the young, wealthy man who has such enthusiasm for Jesus. He wants to become a disciple, and excitedly tells Jesus that he already follows the commandments. Jesus asks him to leave everything behind and follow him, at which point the young man becomes “sad” and walks away. That story teaches us about material attachment, but this rapid change from being hailed triumphantly to utterly abandoned demonstrates a similar problem with attachment to our own interpretation of God’s will rather than obediently submitting to His word.

Another comes from John 6:51-69 (Ignatius). While in Galilee, Jesus’ many disciples at that time clung to their own narrow understanding of the Messiah. Jesus tells them that He will be “the living bread” and that eternal salvation is the mission of the Messiah rather than political triumph. When they object, Jesus refuses to explain this away as a parable, instead intensifying the image by insisting that “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Not only did many walk away, but even the original twelve disciples “murmured at it,” and Jesus had to reinforce this instruction with them.

When confronted by the mysteries of faith, too often we just turn our back to return to the familiar. It is easier for us to walk away rather than hear the truth, especially when we are so invested in other priorities. Even with Jesus among them and working miracles for all to see — and which many did see — it turned out to be very easy to walk away. On this Palm Sunday, while we recall Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and ponder His Passion afterward, perhaps we should ask ourselves when we’ve waved the palm branches when it was just easy to do so, and how many times we’ve put them aside or walked away when being a disciple was too uncomfortable.

Have a blessed Palm Sunday.


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A Blessed Palm Sunday to you too, Ed…

OmahaConservative on April 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Thank you Ed. Blessings to you and all HotAirans. Greetings OC.

31giddyup on April 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Holy Week starts with Christ arriving in Jerusalem and the leaders’ center of power (the Temple). Entry processions were important occasions. Jesus’ entry parodies this by arriving on a donkey. His goal is not to dominate, intimidate, or proclaim His greatness. It was a show of His humble service.

May all Christ’s followers reflect on what Jesus was doing this week and celebrate next Sunday with boundless enthusiasm and joy.

Happy Nomad on April 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Thanks Ed.
In the Maronite Catholic Church today is Hosanna Sunday. The Gospel reading is John 12 : 12 – 22

Zorro on April 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Entry processions were important occasions. Jesus’ entry parodies this by arriving on a donkey. His goal is not to dominate, intimidate, or proclaim His greatness. It was a show of His humble service.

Happy Nomad on April 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM

And for all of Jesus’ humility, let’s not forget that he literally upended the tables in the temple yard, at the same time figuratively upending the security of the Jewish aristocratic classes. He wasn’t a “nice” or “tolerant” guy by any stretch.

gryphon202 on April 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Thomas.

John the Libertarian on April 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM

All of these people celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. By the end of the week, not even all of His disciples stood by him as he was put to death. In just a few days, one of them would accept a bribe to help capture him, and the next day the crowds in Jerusalem would shout for Barabbas rather than the man who raised Lazarus from the tomb. The abandonment of such a figure in such a short period of time is nothing less than astonishing…

Astonishing, yes. But certainly not unpredicted by Jesus. In Matt 26:49-52, Judas betrays Jesus by kissing Him on the cheek and announcing “Hail, Rabbi!”. so the authorities would know whom to arrest. And Matt 26:53-56 continues Jesus’ knowledge that He must let these many events, leading up to His death on the cross, are necessary so that prophecy may be fulfilled.

That’s related to this Matt. chapter 21 aw well. I’ve often pondered what may have come differently had Jesus not been cast aside by so many…from apostles, to the people in the crowds…in the days leading up to His crucifixion.

JetBoy on April 13, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Ride On, Ride On In Majesty – King’s College, Cambridge

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark, all the tribes hosanna cry,
thy humble beast pursues his road
with palms and scattered garments strowed

kcewa on April 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Ed—I’ve been meaning to express my appreciation for this weekly post as it provides perspective for the worldly affairs of man. You are generous with sharing your Faith. Have a Blessed Passion Sunday and Holy Week.

cthemfly on April 13, 2014 at 11:11 AM

“Truly, this was the Son of God!”

Amen

ReagansRight on April 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Thank you, Ed. I always feel well prepared for Mass after reading what you’ve written.

unclesmrgol on April 13, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Outstanding post, Ed. Absolutely spot on.

Bitter Clinger on April 13, 2014 at 11:21 AM

All the readings and responses for every day, in one convenient location:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041314.cfm

You can tell that the bishops are not programmers. Rather than using YYYYMMDD they use MMDDYY as the name of the page. Hence, today being MM=04, DD=13, YY=14 (4/13/14), the above is the name of the page.

unclesmrgol on April 13, 2014 at 11:28 AM

A blessed Palm Sunday to all!

22044 on April 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Fist a Blessed Palm Sunday to all.

But in case anyone is confused, the events were prophesy. What happened was supposed to happen.

Thanks for the mediation, Ed.

hawkdriver on April 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

As always, thank you, Ed. Great Mass preparation.

Mason on April 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Good commentary. Lots of food for thought.

Cleombrotus on April 13, 2014 at 12:01 PM

But in case anyone is confused, the events were prophesied. What happened was supposed to happen.

hawkdriver on April 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

The ones who are confused have yet to arrive. But there is hope for unconfusion.

unclesmrgol on April 13, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Thanks Ed.
In the Maronite Catholic Church today is Hosanna Sunday. The Gospel reading is John 12 : 12 – 22

Zorro on April 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM

http://www.maronite-heritage.com/Hosanna%20Sunday.php

unclesmrgol on April 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM

The ones who are confused have yet to arrive. But there is hope for unconfusion.

unclesmrgol on April 13, 2014 at 12:03 PM

There might have been at least one. :-)

hawkdriver on April 13, 2014 at 12:17 PM

But in case anyone is confused, the events were prophesied. What happened was supposed to happen.

hawkdriver on April 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Isaiah 53

New King James Version (NKJV)

53 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they[a] made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul,[b] and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

OmahaConservative on April 13, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Beautiful reflection, as always, Ed.

A blessed Palm Sunday to you and to all HotAirians here.

PatriotGal2257 on April 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Heavenly Father, … in Jesus name I’m asking that You would please show Yourself real, to all of those persons who don’t yet know You . . . . . amen.
.
.

listens2glenn on April 13, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Today is also Guy Fawkes birthday.

celtic warrior on April 13, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Thank you, Ed. I didn’t get to go to church this morning because services were unexpectedly cancelled. There were road race closures in the area and no one could get to the church. The city provided completely inadequate signage and no formal notice of the race to the church, so no one at the church knew before this morning. I drove all the way up and couldn’t get there. So disappointing.

Missy on April 13, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Thanks unclesmrgol. Looks like a good site.

Zorro on April 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Some threads just make you feel better.

jake-the-goose on April 13, 2014 at 2:13 PM

A blessed Palm Sunday and holy week to one and all. As we await His return….Thank you Jesus…..

crosshugger on April 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

An interesting side note here. Jesus held the people of that time responsible and accountable for knowing the day of His visitation.

41] And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it,
[42] saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.
[43] For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side,
[44] and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.

Luke 19: 41-44

Sir Richard Anderson, a retired Scotland Yard inspector, in his book The Coming Prince details how, if one had paid attention to the details in the prophet Daniel’s account, coupled with Zechariah’s prophecy, should have been able to calculate to the day when the Messiah would have ridden into Jerusalem and the manner of his arrival.

Which begs the question, will He hold US accountable for not knowing the time and the manner of His Second arrival?

Cleombrotus on April 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Which begs the question, will He hold US accountable for not knowing the time and the manner of His Second arrival?

Cleombrotus on April 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Thanks for this. I think He was referring to their not recognizing Him as God’s visitation.

The RSV translates Luke 19:44 as: “because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

The NIV has: “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

kcewa on April 13, 2014 at 3:29 PM

He was dedicated to his work, but it turned him into a hardened and calloused man, and his first marriage ended because of it.

He left the police force after fifteen years of service and became a cross-country truck driver, but about six months into that, macular degeneration in both eyes rendered him effectively blind. He went on disability, and, with the expectation of being blind and disabled for the rest of his life, got help through the Oregon Commission of the Blind in functional blind living, including white cane and guide dog training.

In 2001, he attended a men’s retreat, the topic of which was, “Cleansing of the Mind.” He needed that. He’d not been able to sleep nights because of the horrid, graphic images of bodies, violence, and pornography still haunting his psyche. Sometimes he would wake up screaming from the nightmares. So at the retreat he prayed, Lord, cleanse my mind. Take this junk away. Set me free. Right away, he felt the Lord respond directly, You’re clean.

He opened his eyes. And the next thing he knew, he was reading the little red “Exit” sign behind the speaker in the chapel. Not only had his mind been cleansed of the residue of years among such evil, but his eyes had been healed of their blindness. His vision was totally restored. Even the scar tissue was gone.

A subsequent investigation opened by the state of Oregon resulted in comprehensive documentation, both of his visual impairment and the restoration of his sight, and cleared him of any fraud charges in relation to the temporary collection of disability. His is a current-day, thoroughly documented healing, or in the words on the diagnosis submitted by Dr. Brad Seeley of the Dept. of Ophthalmology, Oregon Health Sciences University, “Unexplained Decreased Visual Acuity.”

http://www.christianapologeticsalliance.com/2014/02/27/jesus-of-testimony/

http://www.jesusoftestimony.com/

davidk on April 13, 2014 at 3:35 PM

May we truly be reflective on the meaning of this upcoming week beginning today. Thanks Ed, great read every Sun. a.m…

hillsoftx on April 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Missy on April 13, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Where do you live, Monaco?

Nutstuyu on April 13, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Enjoyed this read. Thank you, Ed.

tdau1997 on April 13, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Thanks Ed.
In the Maronite Catholic Church today is Hosanna Sunday. The Gospel reading is John 12 : 12 – 22
Zorro on April 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Sha’neenee mbarakee!!

(A Blessed Palm Sunday to you all!)

ImmigrantsWife on April 14, 2014 at 12:11 AM

Thanks, Ed, and God bless all of you this Holy Week.

Elisa on April 14, 2014 at 12:28 AM

Which begs the question, will He hold US accountable for not knowing the time and the manner of His Second arrival?

Cleombrotus on April 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

One would assume that as long as each of us comport ourselves as if this were our last day on this earth — probably not.

After all, is he not a God of love? What does he tell the Disciples in the case of the Rich Young Man, when they question their own worthiness for Salvation?

unclesmrgol on April 14, 2014 at 12:59 AM

Ed…Thank you for this weekly posting. I’m getting remarried tomorrow night in the Catholic Church to my wife of 35 years. For us, palm Sunday is a new beginning. I will be baptized on Saturday. This is going to be a long week of prayer and of vigil. Your post started it off right for me. Thanks Ed!
Yours in Christ,
Michael.

Michael Harlin on April 14, 2014 at 2:47 AM

I cannot understand why you follow Simon, who denied Yeshua, and not Paul, who had everything to lose and indeed lost it, or Thomas, who went Eastward. Or even the gospel of Mary Magdalene, who was clearly not a whore. Or Phillip, and you ask, who is Phillip?

John the Libertarian on April 14, 2014 at 3:25 AM

Saul.

John the Libertarian on April 14, 2014 at 3:26 AM

One would assume that as long as each of us comport ourselves as if this were our last day on this earth — probably not.

unclesmrgol on April 14, 2014 at 12:59 AM

Indeed.

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Ps. 90:12

Cleombrotus on April 14, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Thanks to Ed for taking the time to post this thread every week and I really do enjoy reading them all. While reading the passages I got a sense that even though the Disciples of Christ had the good fortune to see and worship Jesus in the flesh; keeping their faith in him was still extremely difficult. Guess accepting the gift from Jesus is the easy part and taking care of that gift is a mutual labour of love.

I was taught not to judge folks when the goings on are good, but to observe folks when times are tough; and that lesson was running through my head while reading the passages. Again, many thanks to Ed and for those who post.

HonestLib on April 14, 2014 at 8:24 AM

I cannot understand why you follow Simon, who denied Yeshua, and not Paul, who had everything to lose and indeed lost it, or Thomas, who went Eastward. Or even the gospel of Mary Magdalene, who was clearly not a whore. Or Phillip, and you ask, who is Phillip?

John the Libertarian on April 14, 2014 at 3:25 AM

It’s right there in the Gospels. Jesus gave Simon Peter the “keys to the Kingdom of Heaven”, and built His Church on Peter. Paul certainly played a very important role in the early days of The Church along with Peter. But it was Peter who was “the rock” that Christ appointed to lead His Church.

In Luke’s gospel, we learn that, after Peter had caught so many fish he fell before Jesus, who told him “Do not be afraid…from now on you will be catching men”. Everywhere in the New Testament, Peter is always mentioned as the first apostle. Peter was also the first apostle Jesus came to after His resurrection.

There’s more scripture pointing to Peter as Christ’s appointed leader of His Church. Again, Paul absolutely played a large part in the beginnings of Christianity…but Christ clearly put Peter in charge as leader.

JetBoy on April 14, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Psalm 90

Lord, You have been our refuge
in every generation.
2 Before the mountains were born,
before You gave birth to the earth and the world,
from eternity to eternity, You are God.

3 You return mankind to the dust,
saying, “Return, descendants of Adam.”
4 For in Your sight a thousand years
are like yesterday that passes by,
like a few hours of the night.
5 You end their lives; they sleep.
They are like grass that grows in the morning—
6 in the morning it sprouts and grows;
by evening it withers and dries up.

7 For we are consumed by Your anger;
we are terrified by Your wrath.
8 You have set our unjust ways before You,
our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
9 For all our days ebb away under Your wrath;
we end our years like a sigh.
10 Our lives last seventy years
or, if we are strong, eighty years.
Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow;
indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Your anger?
Your wrath matches the fear that is due You.
12 Teach us to number our days carefully
so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.

13 Lord—how long?
Turn and have compassion on Your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love
so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us rejoice for as many days as You have humbled us,
for as many years as we have seen adversity.
16 Let Your work be seen by Your servants,
and Your splendor by their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us;
establish for us the work of our hands—
establish the work of our hands!

HCSB

davidk on April 14, 2014 at 2:23 PM

John the Libertarian on April 14, 2014 at 3:25 AM

.
JetBoy on April 14, 2014 at 9:58 AM

.
Have any of you considered following Jesus? … communicating with Him one-on-one? … without using someone else as an “intermediary” between yourself, and Him?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Have any of you considered following Jesus? … communicating with Him one-on-one? … without using someone else as an “intermediary” between yourself, and Him?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

I can’t speak for John the Libertarian, but a big reason for Christ instituting His Church was so that there would be only one, true church. How else would scripture be translated properly? There are thousands of different Christian denominations all teaching something different from the others.

Jesus foresaw that, and so again…one true church. Infallible scripture needs an infallible translator. If we all just followed Christ on our own…who has it right, and who doesn’t?

JetBoy on April 14, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Have any of you considered following Jesus? … communicating with Him one-on-one? … without using someone else as an “intermediary” between yourself, and Him?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

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I can’t speak for John the Libertarian, but a big reason for Christ instituting His Church was so that there would be only one, true church. How else would scripture be translated properly? There are thousands of different Christian denominations all teaching something different from the others.

Jesus foresaw that, and so again…one true church. Infallible scripture needs an infallible translator. If we all just followed Christ on our own…who has it right, and who doesn’t?

JetBoy on April 14, 2014 at 5:17 PM

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I just knew if I kept this “can o’ worms” in the back of my pantry, there would eventually come a good opportunity to open it up.

Just who is the “infallible translator” for the Roman Catholic Church?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

Just who is the “infallible translator” for the Roman Catholic Church?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

They answer to no one but God, and you had better silently get in line and accept their “authority,” mister.

non-nonpartisan on April 14, 2014 at 8:40 PM

non-nonpartisan on April 14, 2014 at 8:40 PM

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I ain’t gittin’ in no line, until I know just who “they” is … on account of I’m a CYNIC !

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 9:09 PM

Just who is the “infallible translator” for the Roman Catholic Church?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

The Holy Spirit.

Not every priest or bishop is infallible in individually translating each and every line of Scripture.

When the Pope speaks on any worldly subject he is not infallible. When the Pope speaks about a religious topic or Scripture in a way that is clearly his personal opinion, not a formal teaching about faith and morals for the universal Church, he is not infallible.

But the same way that the Holy Spirit used infallible men to write the inerrant Sacred Scriptures is the same way the Holy Spirit uses fallible men to interpret those Scriptures infallibly through Sacred Tradition.

Again, only when the Church united with the Pope talks about a formal teaching on faith and morals. Sacred Scripture (written Word of God) and Sacred Tradition (oral Word of God passed down from the Apostles) will never contradict, because the Holy Spirit speaks through both and the Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself.

That is how a Christian can test if he is interpreting Scripture correctly. How has the Church always interpreted the Scripture from the beginning, when it is a formal teaching.

2 Peter 1:20
“Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,”

Otherwise how can one know? Because they pray for discernment? We all do that. Because we “feel” it? We all have those feelings. Because others we respect agree with us? WELL, THAT IS A TRADITION.

See the little secret here is that NO CHRISTIAN interprets Scripture without a tradition. Catholics and Orthodox use the same Sacred Tradition to interpret Scripture and come up with the same interpretation. (only differ on matters of authority)

Protestants and non-denominationalists also use a tradition. With that tradition they all differ amongst themselves on some things, and sometimes on important matters of salvation. Baptism being necessary or once saved always saved, etc. Sometimes they agree on an interpretation. But they use a tradition. Let’s be honest.

The only person who would not be using a Tradition to interpret Scripture is a baby left stranded on a deserted island alone with nothing to read except a Bible without footnotes. Everyone else uses a Tradition. Everyone else either had the Gospel or parts or all of Scripture interpreted to them by a book or minister or teacher or friend or parent or spouse, etc. Once those first interpretations and tradition was taught, then that was followed by the individual to interpret further passages throughout their life.

We all use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Catholics do this also. But we don’t use that method alone.

Because if someone uses passage A and passage B to interpret C and they are wrong on A and B, then C will be wrong too.

As a Catholic, I have faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, faith in the Eucharist, faith in the Bible and faith in Sacred Tradition. If I did not have faith in Sacred Tradition, then I would not be sure I am interpreting the Bible correctly. I wouldn’t even be sure if some of the books in my Bible belonged there, since that was decided by the Holy Spirit through the Church in the 4th century.

And I do have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, when I am home alone I feel His Spirit with me. But never more powerfully than when I am in the presence of the Eucharist. There is an added dimension, a physical dimension.

You may disagree with me on my faith in Sacred Tradition. You may disagree with me on my interpretation of Scripture.

But, please, understand and let’s be clear. You too interpret Scripture from a tradition. A tradition taught to you from men also.

Elisa on April 14, 2014 at 10:58 PM

But, please, understand and let’s be clear. You too interpret Scripture from a tradition. A tradition taught to you from men also.

Elisa
on April 14, 2014 at 10:58 PM

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I don’t believe I do . . . . . but I can’t prove it within the context of this forum.
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I disagree with all “traditions of men, that make the word of God of no effect” . . . . . but that criteria is subject to MY perceptions of what is a “tradition of men” vs what is a legitimate institution from the LORD.
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For the time being, I have no resolution to the great debate over whose ‘traditions’ are truly from God, and whose are not.

listens2glenn on April 15, 2014 at 1:20 AM

Outstanding — I applaud Hotair for posting this awesome piece in honor of Palm Sunday! God bless you all who work there and who made the decision to post this for everyone to read. Thank you!!!

easyt65 on April 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Just who is the “infallible translator” for the Roman Catholic Church?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

The Church is the infallible translator.

JetBoy on April 15, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Just who is the “infallible translator” for the Roman Catholic Church?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

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The Church is the infallible translator.

JetBoy on April 15, 2014 at 6:04 PM

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Okay . . . . . but the Church is made up of ‘fallible’ people,
unless I’m missing something.
If I am missing something, then who are the “infallible” people within the Church?
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BTW, this isn’t a private conversation between JetBoy and myself (thank you Elisa, for your reply earlier) … anyone can weigh-in on this.

listens2glenn on April 16, 2014 at 12:34 AM

Okay . . . . . but the Church is made up of ‘fallible’ people,
unless I’m missing something.
If I am missing something, then who are the “infallible” people within the Church?

listens2glenn on April 16, 2014 at 12:34 AM

No one’s infallible within the church, and the claim that the “Church is the infallible translator” doesn’t make sense to anyone who wants outside proof. David Koresh wasn’t the Messiah just because he said so, either.

non-nonpartisan on April 16, 2014 at 3:55 AM

But, please, understand and let’s be clear. You too interpret Scripture from a tradition. A tradition taught to you from men also.

Elisa on April 14, 2014 at 10:58 PM

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I don’t believe I do . . . . . but I can’t prove it within the context of this forum.
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I disagree with all “traditions of men, that make the word of God of no effect” . . . . . but that criteria is subject to MY perceptions of what is a “tradition of men” vs what is a legitimate institution from the LORD.
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For the time being, I have no resolution to the great debate over whose ‘traditions’ are truly from God, and whose are not.

listens2glenn on April 15, 2014 at 1:20 AM

I understand what you are saying.

You believe that your interpretations and beliefs are not from a tradition of men and that they come from God. And you believe that my traditions come from men and some are mistaken, so only some of them come from God.

I believe that my interpretations and beliefs are not from a tradition of men and that they come from God. And I believe that your traditions come from men and some are mistaken, so only some of them come from God.

Which is why I never tell another Christian who disagrees with me:

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Have any of you considered following Jesus? … communicating with Him one-on-one? … without using someone else as an “intermediary” between yourself, and Him?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Just sayins, my friend, just saying. lol

Catholics also have personal relationships with Jesus and believe our faith comes from God and Scripture.

And I know that Christians who disagree with me feel the same and would not insult them by saying otherwise to them. (Unless they first bring that up with me, as has been done here.)

But truly no offense taken. I understand you are trying to make people believe what you think is the true Gospel and follow Jesus more closely. I can respect that. I share those sentiments.

God bless you and all here this Holy Week.

Elisa on April 16, 2014 at 10:03 AM

No one’s infallible within the church, and the claim that the “Church is the infallible translator” doesn’t make sense to anyone who wants outside proof. David Koresh wasn’t the Messiah just because he said so, either.

non-nonpartisan on April 16, 2014 at 3:55 AM

Not sure what “outside proof” is. We can offer you arguments from Sacred Scripture and from Sacred Tradition.

But “David Koresh?” Really?

We don’t believe men in the Church set themselves up like he did.

We believe Jesus set up a physical Church with hand picked leaders, one in particular. It’s a spiritual body of believers, as well. But also physical. So the teachings we have are passed down from the Apostles to leaders they hand picked and entrusted the Gospel to. At a time when orthodox teaching was the most important thing to them. Reading the New Testament, you can see Paul and the other Apostles correcting false teachings and conduct, with authority.

That is what we believe was passed down, by the Holy Spirit, to us today. Not a bunch of false teachers today 2 thousand years later or even in the 4th century during the time of Constantine.

The beliefs that Catholics and the Orthodox have today on the Eucharist, Sacred Tradition, etc. are found in the early writings of Christians in good standing from the first 3 centuries of the Church. And with Scripture backing them up.

It may not be proof to you, but “David Koresh?” Come on.

Elisa on April 16, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Not sure what “outside proof” is. We can offer you arguments from Sacred Scripture and from Sacred Tradition.

But “David Koresh?” Really?

We don’t believe men in the Church set themselves up like he did.

We believe Jesus set up a physical Church with hand picked leaders, one in particular. It’s a spiritual body of believers, as well. But also physical. So the teachings we have are passed down from the Apostles to leaders they hand picked and entrusted the Gospel to. At a time when orthodox teaching was the most important thing to them. Reading the New Testament, you can see Paul and the other Apostles correcting false teachings and conduct, with authority.

That is what we believe was passed down, by the Holy Spirit, to us today. Not a bunch of false teachers today 2 thousand years later or even in the 4th century during the time of Constantine.

The beliefs that Catholics and the Orthodox have today on the Eucharist, Sacred Tradition, etc. are found in the early writings of Christians in good standing from the first 3 centuries of the Church. And with Scripture backing them up.

It may not be proof to you, but “David Koresh?” Come on.

Elisa on April 16, 2014 at 10:16 AM

I’m a Protestant, so I don’t agree with the authority the RCC claims for itself. Why should I? Every other exclusive Christian denomination does the same, and people like me and l2g need more than words. And when the arguments they make to defend their “authority” defy logic, we know we should reject them.

If I am going to be told I’m headed to Hell for rejecting a church’s teachings and Biblical interpretations, there are thousands of them which already do. Whether it’s Koresh, the LDS, or the RCC, what’s one more? I’ll answer to God alone, so I’ll follow my own understanding of God, not others’. I don’t trust anyone who’d try to tell me differently, as I don’t believe in “safety in numbers” when it comes to beliefs.

non-nonpartisan on April 16, 2014 at 5:09 PM

non-nonpartisan on April 16, 2014 at 5:09 PM

I see you doubled down on David Koresh. So I really don’t have more to say.

God bless you and your family this Holy Week.

Elisa on April 16, 2014 at 7:24 PM

I see you doubled down on David Koresh. So I really don’t have more to say.

Seeing that my point was disagreement with the RCC’s claims of spiritual authority (and every other Christian group which claims a similar exclusivity, too,) I don’t know how I couldn’t have while continuing to be honest. I hope you know I intended no personal insult. Protestants and Catholics are diametrically and significantly opposed in many ways; this is inescapable.

God bless you and your family this Holy Week.

Elisa on April 16, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Thank you. I reurn the sentiment.

non-nonpartisan on April 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Catholics also have personal relationships with Jesus and believe our faith comes from God and Scripture.

God bless you and all here this Holy Week.

Elisa on April 16, 2014 at 10:03 AM

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Anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD, has a relationship with Him.

That’s all that matters.

listens2glenn on April 16, 2014 at 9:28 PM