13 Apr 2014

Thoughts on Palm Sunday

Religious 37 Comments

Today is Palm Sunday. From Matthew 21: 1-11:

21 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage,[a] at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

4 All[b] this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[c]
6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him[d] on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’[e]
Hosanna in the highest!”
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

There is obviously a lot one could say about all this, but for me, the most striking thing is just how fickle people are. The same crowds that were praising Jesus as a King on Sunday would, on Friday, be demanding His crucifixion.

The takeaway for me is twofold:

(1) Don’t worry about it when people act like you’re amazing when they first encounter you, then denounce you to the world a short while later. True, it might be because you’re a monster, or it could just be…that’s how people are. Whatever unfairness has happened to you, is nothing like what happened to Jesus. And yet look at the grace with which He handled the situation.

(2) If you have a powerful but difficult message to convey, don’t bother trying to win over “the masses.” They are fickle and even if they are totally behind you on Sunday, they could be led astray by a few plotting loudmouths to call for your death on Friday. Instead, follow Albert Jay Nock’s lead and go after the Remnant (which of course is a Biblical reference).

37 Responses to “Thoughts on Palm Sunday”

  1. joe says:

    unfairness to Jesus? the story is that he came to earth to die for everyone’s sins. Now he’s a victim?

    The message is a good one for the liberty crowd. Don’t feel bad because you are a slave forced to do business with black people. Could be worse. You could be crucified. Slavery was not so bad. you could sing songs and eat gruel. Crucifixion is so bad.

    • Reece says:

      Are you saying that being crucified did not make Jesus a victim? What is a victim to you? Just because someone knew it would happen does not make the person not a victim.

      “Slavery was not so bad.” Except no libertarian has ever said that. Walter Block did say that, “OTHERWISE slavery was not so bad.” Besides this part, the rest of your comment is correct I think. Being forced to do business with other people is not nearly as bad as what others have been through – if others found it within their hearts to forgive, maybe that should be how we deal with it too. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be against violence, just change how we deal with it.

      • GabbyD says:

        i agree w u reece. if you voluntarily do something good for another, and then that other pays your actions with violence, then you arent a victim?

        of course you are…

    • Richie says:

      Could be worse. You could be crucified. Slavery was not so bad. you could sing songs and eat gruel.

      If the accusation that “joe” is also the troll “Jerry Wolfgang” from over at EPJ lacked proof, it no longer does. The above statement is the exact statement “Jerry Wolfgang” consistently writes over there.

      • Ken B says:

        It’s pretty common (unfair) mockery of Block’s words. Might as well argue joe is Walter Block.

        • Richie says:

          Nope, “joe” is “Jerry Wolfgang.” A troll just like yourself.

    • guest says:

      Why are you under the impression that the liberty crowd cares whether or not they do business with people having dark skin?

      In fact, were you aware that there is a large amount of black people who, when they see another black person, automatically assume that there is a connection between them?

      That’s quite a presumption don’t you think?

      • Gamble says:

        Fitting in and socially adapting is hard for all of us, it must be doubly difficult for those that see everything in colors and divisions…

  2. Ken B says:

    This is a notorious passage. Compare it to the same event told in the other gospels. One striking difference is in this gospel Jesus rides astride two animals at once. This is because the author misunderstood that bit of scripture above. He has misread a poetic trope as a second animal. A little googling will lead to detailed explanations.

    The timing also differs wildly from John. Was this, as Bob says days before his death, or a year before?

    Bob has quoted this before, I pointed out these problems before.

    The takeaway for me is twofold: don’t trust the gospels, and don’t trust those who preach from them.

    • Reece says:

      “…and don’t trust those who preach from them.” Are you sure you want to take this position? Even if preaching the gospels is completely illogical, is someone doing one thing illogical enough to make you recommend that nobody trust them?

      And do you think that preaching the gospels is completely illogical? A message can be interesting even if it comes from an erroneous source. For example, a lot of people take messages from fictional works – look at how many people essentially “preach” from Atlas Shrugged! Should these people not be trusted?

      I’m not going to argue over the gospels, and would probably consider myself an atheist (or at the very least agnostic), but just out of interest: Have you considered the possibility that “They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him[d] on them” is referring to the clothes? That’s what I thought it was saying at first.

      • Reece says:

        By “referring to the clothes” I mean they “set Him[d] on the [clothes]” rather than they “set Him[d] on the [donkey and colt].”

      • Ken B says:

        Whether Jesus rides astride one or two, there are still two animals. So the author of the gospel has misread the quoted text. That is the key point. The inference is that the story details were tailored to fit the reading of the verse.

        • Reece says:

          This is the scripture the author was reading, correct?:

          “Tell the daughter of Zion,
          ‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
          Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
          A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

          It doesn’t seem to exclude them bringing a donkey too, any more than it excludes putting clothes on the colt and donkey. It just said he was sitting on a colt. I suppose it is possible that the author misread it, but we can’t really know for sure.

          • Ken B says:

            You do not understand the misreading. That verse refers to only one animal, a donkey. Google.

            • Lord Keynes says:

              Ken B,

              Right: the reference to the donkey and the colt in the Hebrew of Zechariah 9:9 is nothing but Hebrew poetic synonymous parallelism ( a type of literary tautology), and refers to only one animal.

              Matthew has read the Greek Septuagint text of this and misinterpreted it to mean two animals.

              So many gospel passages like this are just fabricated out of Old testament “proof texts” that Christians imagined were prophecies of Jesus.

            • Reece says:

              Yes, I see it refers to only one animal. I quoted the thing, I don’t need to Google it. The point is that while it refers to only one animal, it does not exclude Jesus from bringing something else along as well. All it says is he has to be “sitting on a [colt].” If I say that I will be “sitting on a pony” when I arrive at your house, and I arrive at your house sitting on a pony, with a horse nearby, did I misunderstand myself?

            • Futurity says:

              Your logic:
              1. In the zoo there were tigers, elephants and bears.
              2. Ken reported that there were elephants
              Therefor: Ken was not in the zoo from 1.
              Just because Ken has not reported other animals does not man he was not in the zoo.

              Different would be following:
              1. In the zoo there were tigers, elephants and bears.
              2. Ken reported that there were ONLY elephants
              Therefor: Ken was not in the zoo from 1.

              Nowhere in Bible does is state that there was ONLY one animal.

              • Ken B says:

                Hilarious. And what about Jesus’s words? Did you actually compare passages?

              • Bob Murphy says:

                It would be cool if Ken were in a zoo.

              • Ken B says:

                He hangs around one.

              • Reece says:

                Ken, the passages are not exactly the same, but that would make sense even if they were the truth. When describing what I saw at a zoo, I can’t say everything – someone going to the same zoo, right next to me the entire time might have a very different description. From some quick research on these passages, they don’t seem to contradict. In some ways, they support each other. For example, one of the other passages says: “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat.” If the colt had never carried someone before, it seems reasonable that it might need guidance from another donkey. So it’s quite possible the other authors were more focused on the fulfilling of the prophecy, and did not mention the support from the other donkey (perhaps the mother?), but this author found it more of interest. At the very least, it isn’t as “slam dunk” of a case as you are portraying it.

    • Futurity says:

      Where in the gospel of Matthew does it say that Jesus rode on two animals?

      I don’t see it. I see that there are two animals and that on each of them people laid clothes. I then read that they set Jesus on the clothes.

      Am I missing something? Please help.

      • Ken B says:

        The verses are in Hebrew. They were translated to Greek. The author of Matthew read the Greek and wrote in Greek. Then it was all translated to English. You treat it as if it were in English, and draw tenuosu conclusions from that. On issues like this we must trust those who speak these languages, in their ancient forms. And they say unequivocally that the passages in the different gospels differ on the number of animals.
        The passages quote Jesus. His commands differ. If you are Matt Tanous you’ll say there are three animals, because Jesus sent for one, and then he sent for two more.

        • Futurity says:

          “The verses are in Hebrew. They were translated to Greek. The author of Matthew read the Greek and wrote in Greek.”
          Could you prove that Matthew read and wrote in Greek ONLY and that he had no understanding of Hebrew?

          Of course you would first have to fight with facts that church fathers attribute Matthew as writing in Hebrew:
          “Therefore Matthew put the logia in an ordered arrangement in the Hebrew language, but each person interpreted them as best he could” Papias

          “he(Pantaenus) there found his own arrival anticipated by some who there were acquainted with the gospel of Matthew, to whom Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached, and had left them the gospel of Matthew in the Hebrew, which was also preserved until this time” Eusebius

          “Now Matthew published also a book of the Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel in Rome and founding the Church” Irenaeus

          “Matthew — who was also (called) Levi — was an apostle and former tax-collector. He first composed the gospel of Christ in Hebrew letters and words in Judea for those from the circumcision who had believed. Who later translated (his gospel) into Greek, is not quite certain. Moreover, the Hebrew itself is still held today in the library at Caesarea (Maritima), which the martyr Pamphilus carefully put together” Jerome

          There is of course internal evidence that Matthew had great understanding of Hebrew and Hebrew tradition.
          I think one of the more interesting one is that Matthew would abbreviate Jesus name in the Hebrew tradition:
          Jesus was rendered as J-S
          Similar to Yahweh as YHVH or YH in OT.

  3. Yosef says:

    Bob, apologies if this has been asked and answered, but why do you take the gospels to be reasonable accounts of the life of Jesus? Given that they are written by followers of Jesus, with the purposes of spreading his message, why not take it as suspect?

    Suppose Daniel Kuehn and Brad DeLong wrote The Life of Paul Krugman, edited by Noah Smith. Would you trust it to be accurate? Not that they would necessarily make things up (well, the might), but wouldn’t they paint things in certain ways, explain things away or tell you what Krugman *really* meant even when he said something else, etc?

    • Ken B says:

      And there were four of them, and they conflicted irreconcilably, and were written down decades later.

      • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

        I read one biography about Einstein that said he had a green car, and another that said he had a blue car.

        Obviously Einstein did not exist and the theory of relativity is wrong.

        • Gamble says:

          Matt you make a good point. The Bible can appear to have contradictions, maybe it does? However this does not automatically mean God and or Jesus are fake.

          Also this does not mean the Bible is not God inspired and useful for growing spiritual people.

          Sometimes I think the Bible sticky points are actually helpful stimulating discussion.

          With all that said, Christians should never worship the bible itself. At maximum, there are 3 beings. God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. So put your faith more so into Jesus, not totally into those written words. Draw to the spirit not the ink.

          Finally, man cannot fully understand the mystery of God because then God would be nothing more than an idol, of course our written articulation(Bible) of it all is less than fully comprehensive and perfect…

        • Yosef says:

          Sure, it’s easy to be sanguine about it now that the sectarian violence between the Believes of Blue and the Guardians of Green has quieted down.

          But some of us are old enough to remember the Car Conflicts.

          It’s only easy to dismiss a contradictory aspect when it is an irrelevant aspect.

          • Gamble says:

            For there to be violence, the discussion had to shift from mere debate to abolition of the NAP.

            Give them your tunic.
            Turn the other cheek.
            Forgive 7X70
            Put your sword away.
            Never let the sun go down on your anger.
            ALL vengeance is mine.

            Certainly Jesus did not teach contrary NAP.

    • khodge says:

      or, more to the point: Keynesians writing about what Keynes said. We don’t have to imagine how tenuous those explanations can be.

      • Ken B says:

        Indeed. White washing of his support for eugenics for example.

        • Gamble says:

          But I thought eugenics was resultant evolution?

  4. Gamble says:

    Jesus, the greatest rebel, the greatest liberator.

    Thank God for Jesus…

  5. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    Tom Woods’ speech on “building the remnant” is one of my favorites ever.


    • Gamble says:

      Thanks for the link. I just watched that entire vid. I think I saw in the background, a donkey and colt with Jesus riding on both?

      Regarding remnant. I stopped going to my church a year ago because they love the world, the state/government, war, etc. Only 2 people asked me where I was, when I was coming back etc. So I decided to visit a Thursday men’s lunch Bible study about 2 months ago, something I used to attend semi regularly.

      Low and behold, the men had been studying Isaiah and the exact day I was there was exactly when the remnant came up.

      I knew the spirit had compelled me to go there that Thursday then I realized why. I let all of these guys and the pastor talk about the remnant and how they were the remnant as were all the Republican talking points and other statist ideas, I then pulled out James 4:4( love the world is adultery to Jesus) and a few other areas related to Satan ruling the earthly kingdoms, kings will punish you, Israeli broke their covenant, don’t love the world, etc.

      Well they did not like my perspective but at least I had a chance to share the anti State/pro Jesus theme through the entire Bible. At least I explained to them the remnant was a very small group, not necessarily the church and their ideas would most certainly be contrary, merely a memory of what use to be common…

  6. Gamble says:

    And in other news:

    The Cross hates Jews, promotes white supremacy, and will be punished dearly…


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