Matthew 21–23; Mark 11; Luke 19–20; John 12: “Behold, Thy King Cometh” (May 15-21)

Washing Jesus’s Feet, by Brian Call

“This day is salvation come into this house.”

Before Jesus washed the apostles’ feet, Mary anointed His feet and wiped them with her hair. Jesus approved of this simple act of devotion: “Against the day of my burying hath she kept this [ointment],” He said. (See John 12:1-7.)

Shortly after, as Jesus entered Jerusalem, a wealthy tax-collector named Zacchaeus climbed a tree, hoping to see over the crowd and catch a glimpse of Him. As Jesus passed by, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.” Overjoyed, Zacchaeus reported to the Savior his efforts to treat people honorably: “The half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Jesus replied, “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19:1-9).

Jesus recognizes our efforts to draw close to Him. As we act upon our feelings of love for Him, we receive His grace.

As He rode into the city, the people cried “Hosanna!” This expression, which means “Save us!” is both a supplication and an expression of confidence.

Here are two blog posts about how our efforts can help us receive His grace:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees!”

In contrast, Jesus warned His disciples against sanctimoniousness. Some practices of their leaders appeared to be righteous on the surface, but were in fact leading them away from God. Here are three examples of these practices with relevant blog posts:

“O Jerusalem”

As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem for the final time, He lamented the unreceptiveness of the people generally to His teachings:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Matthew 23:37; see also Luke 13:34, Luke 19:41-44

Following the destruction on the American continent which coincided with His death, the survivors heard Him utter an expanded version of this lamentation, emphasizing that His love spans the past, the present, and the future. (See 3 Nephi 10:4-6.)

Here is a blog post about the hopeful message embedded in these words of mourning:

“The Head Stone of the Corner”

Jesus reminded the Pharisees of a passage from the book of Psalms: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:22-23, Matthew 21:42Mark 12:10-11Luke 20:17). He was specifically emphasizing to them that by rejecting Him, they were missing the foundation only He could provide.

That sounds pretty final. But in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Jacob takes a decidedly more optimistic view of this passage. After prophesying that Jesus’s people would generally reject Him, He asks, “How is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner?” (Jacob 4:17). In response, he relates Zenos’s Allegory of the Olive Tree, which emphasizes God’s persistence in working with us, even when we fail to respond well initially.

So it’s not just that the stone which they unwisely rejected could have been their cornerstone. The hopeful message is that the stone which they rejected can still be their cornerstone, as soon as they are ready to make Him their foundation.

Here’s a blog post about the resilience of God’s grace and our ability to reclaim things we have unwisely rejected:

Blog Posts: May 16-21

“He Sought to See Jesus Who He Was”

Zacchaeus wanted to see the Savior as He really is. Jesus, in turn, saw Zacchaeus as he really is. He can teach us to see others as they really are and as they can become. We can also learn to help them see their own potential.

Of Gnats and Camels

4 reasons we often “strain at gnats:” 1. We can only focus on one task at a time. 2. Our brains are programmed to look for threats. 3. Simple problems give us a feeling of achievement. 4. Distant or vague problems demand too little of us.

Lifted Up

Jesus was lifted up—violently and painfully—so that we might also be lifted up—joyfully and gloriously. He spoke of His agony on the cross in terms of its purpose and effect. The fact that His execution was so public helped Him to accomplish its purpose.

The Cornerstone

Jesus Christ is our cornerstone, our sure foundation. If we center our lives on Him, we will be well-supported. But even if we reject Him, all is not lost. He is patient and merciful and ready to be our foundation as soon as we are ready to accept Him.

“The Poor Always Ye Have with You”

We can learn at least three things from Jesus’s observation that there will always be poor people among us: 1. Don’t overextend yourself trying to do good. 2. Make specific proposals. 3. You have an ongoing responsibility to care for the poor and needy.

Wedding Garments and Extra Oil

In two of Jesus’s parables, people are punished harshly for seemingly minor infractions: dressing inappropriately or running out of supplies. Important events require careful preparation, so we must be particularly careful in our preparations to meet God.

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