One of my treasured possessions is the mirror that was given to me by one of my youth from Prattville UMC. She gave it to me when I was assigned to another church but I have kept the mirror around to remind me of her, my time in Prattville and my friendships I still have there.
I thought about the mirror last week as I was remembering the events of Holy Week. The mirror was given to me so that I could look at myself and make sure I had my tie straight, my hair combed and my appearance in order. As Sunday begins this remembrance (we think back on the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem) I thought how my little mirror is a lot like the big mirror we call Scripture.
You may not know that Scripture is truly a mirror. It tells us about God and the nature of God. It shows us our common history as people of God. It reflects personalities, reactions and a glimpse of the future. And the characters in Scripture are mirrors of us, our nature and our reactions. Of all the stories in Scripture the Holy Week story is one that reflects the good, the bad and the hopeful in all of us. Which character in this drama makes you think about yourself and how you react to Jesus' haunting question, "Who do you say that I am (Matthew 16:15)?" Here are a few reactions:
1. A reflection of hopefulness as the crowds sing "Hosanna ... blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" Those people hoped for a Jesus that would bring them freedom ... bring autonomy to their country ... throw the Romans into the sea.
2. An air of confusion of disciples who have all sorts of thoughts flying through their heads. "Will He really overthrow the Romans (they won't go quietly)?" "I don't like all of this attention ... the leaders will quell this quickly and harshly!" "Wow, what a worship service! This is exhilarating!" "Will that man with the donkey call the police?" "What are we doing here ... I need a plan of what I am supposed to do ... Jesus is great but He isn't giving us clear marching orders!" All of these reactions and many more reflect the disciples and reflect us even today as we wonder what in the world God is up to!
3. A heightened concern of the Romans as the terror threat is raised to a level 5. "What is going on?" "What does Hosanna mean and why are these people gathered?" "I had the day off tomorrow but this blows that out the window!"
4. Focused scheming as the Pharisees and the religious leaders watch the threat of Jesus rise along with their desire to kill Him. "Who does He think He is? We are the religious authority here! We are the ones with 'arrangements' with the Romans! Our system has worked for years!" "Don't you know it is better for one man to die the for the whole nation to perish (John 11:50)!"
Reactions ... mirroring some of our thoughts today. We might say ... "Does this man really have the power today He did in the Bible?" "If I go 'all in' on Jesus, what will people think? What will that require me to do?"
In the Bible those were confusing and treacherous times. Maybe our time is equally confusing and dangerous. Hundreds of oppressed Christians in Nigeria (at least 120 dead so far) would affirm the very real danger. Or maybe we are challenged so subtly we don't see it. But on that 1st Palm Sunday Jesus knew what was coming. Sin, death, evil and Satan (the powers and principalities we place in fairy tales) didn't give up without bloodshed then and they won't give up without a fight today. Will you remain silent and let the rocks cry out in your place, or will you shout God's praises saying, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16)!?" Randy