Thursday, February 22, 2024

From Palms to the Cross

 In all four Gospels the story of Jesus covers many chapters, but his death seems to happen so quickly. His life, ministry, and journey takes us all over Palestine. We go with him from Israel territory to Roman territory, to alien landscapes and to mountain tops. Then, all of a sudden, we have arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Jesus was just right here, the disciples might say, and now he is not. The followers who were walking back to Emmaus shares with us the amazing story of his death. Everyone seems to know about it.

Death looms out there for Jesus all the way from his first moment of announcing "the kingdom of God has come near." Jesus knows that to announce that God is near is not something those in power like to hear. In fact the people in power do everything they can to deny it. It must be hard for those who have fought their way to the top to be told that in God's Kingdom the first will be last and the last will be first.

Holy Week is just such a journey to remind us all that God is willing to do to bring this kingdom to earth. Jesus comes into Jerusalem as the anti-hero, riding an ass through a side gate. Greeted by people waving simple branches they found on the side of the road shouting "Save us! Save us!" Shouting Hosannah, hosannah!" This is what it looks like when the Kingdom of God has come near. God comes to the least of us and raises them up. Our God announces that the first will be last and the last will be first.

This holiest of weeks is a time for us to dwell in this journey from cries of hosannah to cries of grief. Of spending time dwelling in this story. If you are able this is a week when you should try to cut back on your busyness so that you can be fully present in this walk. To hear and experience all that God has done for you.