Love Your Neighbor (Mark 11:1-11)

Read Zechariah 9:9–17:

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
    and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
    and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
    His rule will extend from sea to sea
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
    I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
    even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
I will bend Judah as I bend my bow
    and fill it with Ephraim.
I will rouse your sons, Zion,
    against your sons, Greece,
    and make you like a warrior’s sword.
Then the Lord will appear over them;
    his arrow will flash like lightning.
The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet;
    he will march in the storms of the south,
    and the Lord Almighty will shield them.
They will destroy
    and overcome with slingstones.
They will drink and roar as with wine;
    they will be full like a bowl
    used for sprinkling the corners of the altar.
The Lord their God will save his people on that day
    as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
    like jewels in a crown.
How attractive and beautiful they will be!
    Grain will make the young men thrive,
    and new wine the young women.

When Jesus enters into Jerusalem, he intentionally enacts this prophecy of the Messiah by riding in on a donkey to the rejoicing of people in Zion. He does this to reveal and remind what his arrival means—the coming of the anointed King, an end to war, freedom for prisoners, rescue from danger, coming home, health and beauty, plenty of food and wine. It means the Kingdom of God will advance no longer with weapons but with people. The patterns of violence and decay will be undone and replaced by rhythms of new creation. All that is hollow and horrific will be made full and beautiful. 

All of this is summarized by the concept of shalom—peace—not just as absence of war, but also as abundance of life and blessings. How do we live in this reality of shalom? First of all, every time we take Communion we take part in these promises. We partake of the “the blood of the God's covenant with us.” We share the peace of Christ with one another. The promised shalom begins to take shape here at the center of the life of the community of believers as our bodies and souls receive and share the presence of Jesus Christ. 

Just as the crowds welcome Jesus' saving presence into Jerusalem and the temple, so also we welcome the saving presence of Christ in Communion into ourselves--we who are the temple of the Spirit of God, being built from living stones (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Peter 2:5). As we await a New Jerusalem, the people of God gather as a sign of shalom to the rest of the world, presenting a new reality and thereby protesting violence, injustice, and slavery. The patterns and powers that bind and break this world have already been defeated. Abundant, everlasting life together is already available.

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Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: Who Is My Neighbor

About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC