The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. - Jeremiah 23:5
Those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" - Mark 11:9-10
Two-year reading texts: Psalm 141:5-10; 2 Kings 9; Acts 2:29-47
Today's scriptures point to leaders who have been anointed, literally or metaphorically, for their work. And with the fulfillment of prophecies of the Messiah in Jesus, we hear the cry "Hosanna!" which means "Save, we pray!" God continually gives leaders for this purpose: to meet people in their time of need, and give them a way to better and fuller life. We may need to be saved from enemies, from oppression, corruption, idolatry, our own sins - the list of human troubles is endless. God is consistent with grace, forgiveness, mercy, and generosity.
Before Jesus, there were some good, effective, and faithful leaders among plenty of bad ones. There was also the promise that the best things in these leaders were only hints at the righteousness and power of the Messiah, who would save all people forever. With the coming of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, leadership comes from God in the form of Spirit-led following of Jesus. Peter, anointed and filled with the Spirit, preaches boldly to the crowd. These people, too, can be baptized into the same life with Christ, opening the way for their own salvation - and for their influence in showing love to others, so that they too will know Jesus and come to salvation.
The pattern continues today. As we are baptized into Christ and his church, we're anointed with the Spirit and called into God's reign of salvation - both for ourselves, and for others. We become leaders in our own unique style, showing the way for anyone who cares to take a look at our lives and the peace and assurance given through Christ.
It may be uncomfortable to think of ourselves as leaders in this way! But look again at the stories of people before us who have been anointed for salvation. Often feeling unprepared, seeming to be unqualified, they were called to live lives worthy of the love and grace they'd been shown, and to speak to other people about all that God has done. This seems to be God's preferred way of sharing the good news!
Gracious God, thank you for the word and water and spirit and call of our baptism. Thank you for anointing people before us to bring the story to our lives. And thank you for anointing us to rest in your salvation and to carry the good news on to still other people.