What if you were walking with your closest friends into a place where everyone knew you or knew of you. Where each person had a perception of who you were because of what they had seen or heard what you had done . . . gave sight to the blind man, healed the lame, brought Lazarus back to life. They’d seen you throw the merchants, the Christian profiteers ,out of the Church (temple). They’d seen the transformation in the group of fishermen followers. Each Jewish person watching you knew the significance of your entrance on a donkey. They knew what ‘Messiah’ meant. Inside each person there was a battle waging, sensing the intensity of this entrance whether Jewish or not. They all had expectations of what the Messiah would change; their oppression from Rome, political strains, hunger and poverty, damaged relationships the list is long, but be assured it existed. How do I know? Because we do the same today. God on our terms or as I like to call it Genie-in-a Magic-Bottle-God. We want this promised Messiah and Savior to ‘save’ us from our present circumstances. We wish our pain away and bank on conditional promises as if our part did not exist. An expectation that this magic God will fix it, fix us, fix them. So this group of onlookers in Jerusalem were viewing this from their individual perspectives.Certainly this Jesus was capable.
Now let’s move to the other side of the table . . .
It’s been hard every day for the past three years. Since Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness where he did battle with Satan. Every expectation, every pressure, every mile walked presented some new or should I say the same issue in a different setting. The religious leaders were on him all the time. They wanted to discredit his purpose and person. His group of fishermen followers was like herding cats with ADD. Those precious children he blessed were destined for the same life as their fathers, unless he followed through. Miracles, unbelief, devalued, disrespected, people in need but missing the point. Hunger, poverty, political upheaval. The world, his world was a mess. He could have said, No. Jesus however, introduced something special by walking into this emotionally and politically charged environment. He demonstrated a relationship of loving obedience that would change the world. If they’d allow it to transform them, it would change their world. If we’d allow it to transform us it can still change our world. It might not fix each individual’s circumstance, but the paradigm of their hopelessness could now change to hope, theirs and ours. Hearts would change. The shape of our purpose could move towards the purpose as seen through the eyes of God. As Jesus walked past these hurting, needy folks with expectations, he focused only on the request from his Father. He knew this week would be unbearable but for his Father. He knew he could do what he was asked to do because the result of him choosing to walk away would doom mankind for all eternity. He provided the means for us to be able to stand, like he does before his Father, perfectly whole. This singular week in history would allow us to stand before a loving God whose price of admission into his loving saving relationship was paid by the blood of Jesus Christ, his perfect son; the perfect spotless once-for-all sacrificial lamb of God.
“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder how he could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean. How wonderful! How marvelous and my song shall ever be! How Wonderful, How Marvelous is my savior’s love for me!” Charles Hutchinson Gabriel