This weekend begins what we call "Holy Week" in Christian tradition. It is a week where we remember, reflect, regret and rejoice, all in a matter of a few days. This week we "enter the city" with Jesus.
Paul Baloche writes ... "Praise is rising, hearts are turning to You ... we turn to You ... hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You, we long for You, cause when we see You we find strength to face the day, in Your presence, all our fears are washed away ... they're washed away!" This was the attitude of the crowd on that first Palm Sunday. As Jesus entered the city, people extended their praise and joyful expectations. But they forgot several things.
The first thing they forgot was that their expectations were not in line with what needed to happen. Holy Week, in modern tradition, is filled with musicals (please come Sunday for our musical at 10:30am, April 2nd) and egg hunts (please come to the egg hunt at Rane Tree at 11am Saturday, April 1st). We love these times, and we love the thought of singing "Hosanna, You are the God who saves us!" But salvation comes with a price ... the cost of our Lord's life, "the perfect lamb who takes away the sins of the world." Salvation comes with sacrifice.
The second thing they forgot was that God had a plan that was to upend the plan of our enemy, Satan. Jesus didn't ride in on a white charger, ready to battle the enemy (and the Romans). He rode in on a donkey, ready to sacrifice Himself, and destroy the plan of the enemy that would take us (what Wesley calls Adam's helpless race) into eternal death. Jesus' sacrifice and death (at the hands of many shouting Hosanna) destroyed Satan's plan and offered all who believe a way for God to "bring us to Himself (Exodus 19)."
The third thing forgotten, is that Jesus' triumphal entry is both an event and a precursor of how we choose to believe. Jesus wept over the city He is about to enter, because the people missed the point ... that He brought grace, peace and goodness, all wrapped in the challenge to enter God's plan and leave our plans. Petra, the musical group, sings a song about the Road to Zion. In the song, that road is struggle, rugged, sometimes dark but always good. It is the road into Jerusalem, where throngs shout their wrong-headed view of Jesus and victory. It is the road to salvation that passes right through the darkness in my heart as Jesus shines light and life on my mustard seed of faith. It is me, becoming willing to see struggle, toil, discomfort and even pain, as God's discipline, as I leave my plans and enter His plans. Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 1 ... "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God." Hope into hopelessness ... power into our helplessness ... life out of death. "O Praise the name of the Lord our God ... O praise His name forevermore, for all my days I will sing God's praise, O Lord, O Lord, my God (anastasis = resurrection)!" Randy