Now on today we reflect on the goodness of God. At this time of the year we can’t help but remember what took place in the events leading to our Lord’s last week on earth. We rejoice in the joy of Jesus, Christ our savior. We lift our hands in praise to our God; worthy is the Lamb of God! Oh community, the peace, and the benefits we have inherited as a result of our standing in Christ. When we think about the depth of what took place on the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, we take a glimpse in time about 2000 years ago as Jesus prepares to go to Calvary to secure our redemption. For all Christians this ought to be an exciting time.
On this coming Sunday we will celebrate what we call Palm Sunday, the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Our Lord’s ministry climaxes and is coming to an end. He had done the work of the Father (John 17:4). He had given hope to the hopeless; he ate with sinners and publicans. People who were despised were the people he identified with; he came to seek and to save those which were lost (St. Luke 19:10). The compassion he had shown, the sermons he had preached unto them, the demons he had cast out, the bodies that he had healed, and the joy that he had brought unto so many lives. He took the time to meet an adulterous woman at a well and gave her living water (St. John 4:14). He cleansed lepers from their leprosy (Mark 2:42). He healed a paralyzed man and forgave him of his sins (Mark 2:5). He fed over 5,000 men with two fish and five loaves of bread (John 6:10).
He exercised authority over nature by calming the raging sea (Mark 4:39). He raised Lazarus from the grave after he had been dead for 4 days (John 11:43 – 44). For three and a half years he had been about his father’s business praying, teaching, and working miracles; (Luke 2:49).
And community, we are all beneficiaries of all that the savior did. But now the journey is just about over as he heads for Jerusalem. Now, we know that everybody did not love him; just like everybody do not love us. There were threats on his life and plots to kill him (John 11:53). The religious leaders wanted him out of the way for the crowds were following him and listening to his words. On one occasion they tried to throw him over a hill, but Jesus did not come into the world to be thrown over a hill. On another occasion they took up stones to stone him to death (John 10:310). But our savior did not come into the world to be stoned to death. They tried to grab him with their hands but he slipped right on through because he did not come to die in the hands of men (John 10:39). He came to be lifted up on a cross (John 12:32)!
But in spite of their threats on his life, what they didn’t know, was that he had come to give his life (John 10:17). He now faces the wind as he prepares to go to Jerusalem. But you know I wonder, how many of us would go to a place where we knew some people was waiting to kill us? Most people try to stay out of places where we know we have some enemies, yet look at King Jesus. Despite the death threats and the hatred of men he prepares to go to Jerusalem to secure our redemption. But the sobering question is this: what if at this time our savior decided not to go through with his mission? What if, he had changed his mind, summoned the angels from glory and went back to heaven? Where would we be? The ones he came to save hated him, threatened him, tried to kill him, and many turned away and walked no more with him (John 6:66). But yet he came! The king of glory was coming to Jerusalem. And community, we ought to be excited this coming Sunday morning, because it was through Jerusalem to Calvary that he paid the ransom for our sins; “He who knew no sin would become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).”
Hallelujah, the king of glory was coming to Jerusalem. They brought a donkey, spread their garments on him, and sat Jesus on it. They spread tree branches along the way shouting, Hosanna (Matthew 21:1-9)! Now community, if they could shout his praises then; we ought to shout it now! Let’s have church this coming Palm Sunday and lift up his name as he did it just for us.
The Rev. George T. Ellis is pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church. Reach him at [email protected]