Pause

What does it truly mean to praise God? What is happening in that act?

Does God want our praise because God is lacking in affirmation or needs a confidence boost?

Could it be that it was our spiritual needs that God had in mind when commanding us to practice praise and to “give thanks in all circumstances”?

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Listen

Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields. Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. After he looked around at everything, because it was already late in the evening, he returned to Bethany with the Twelve.

Mark 11:8-11

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Think

Laying down palms, branches, and cloaks before Jesus, the people of Jerusalem paid tribute to Jesus as if he were a conquering king. This is a reflection of the Roman influence in Judea. The Romans were famous for staging parades to honor commanders who returned triumphant from battle. These parades, called “triumphs,” looked a lot like the spectacle that awaited Jesus as he made his way into the holy city.

Like the Romans, Jesus' fellow Jews liked a winner, and they hung all sorts of hopes on Jesus. Many hoped he would lead a military uprising against the Romans. They clearly misunderstood the nature of his Lordship.

Then and now, Jesus doesn't come with military might, coercing or pummeling his enemies into surrender. No, Jesus comes in love, inviting us into a transformational relationship. He certainly doesn't ask for a parade or cloaks and branches to be laid down before him. Rather, he asks that our lives be laid down before him.

Want to see the world recognize Jesus as king? Begin by making him your king.

Wade Griffith

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Pray

Jesus, help me to embrace you as king of my life, as king of all creation. May I grow to understand the true nature of your reign. Amen.

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Go

Maybe true praise is less in the singing and more in the doing.

Does God want another song to rise from your lips, or would God prefer an act of costly obedience to come from your hands, feet, or mouth?

Forget the palm branches today and instead commit to giving God the palms of your hands!

Wade Griffith

Wade Griffith is a husband, father and pastor in Birmingham, AL. He attended divinity school at Vanderbilt University and leads an inclusive church that warmly welcomes those who are not accepted in other faith communities. When he has a free moment, he enjoys backpacking, reading, running, gardening, Alabama football, and wrestling with his boys.

Reflections on the Way: Lord, I want to be a Christian - This is My Father's World

Ken Medema

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