Monday, April 7, 2014

Coming To The Cross

It's hard to reflect on the Palm Sunday readings because they are so long. We not only have the crucifixion of Jesus which is 128 verses in Matthew but we also have the triumphal entry into Jerusalem from which Palm Sunday gets its name. There are just so many interesting and important details.

There is a progression where the hatred Jesus encounter's grows and grows. As it does you see the love of Jesus become more and more beautiful. You see the love of others for Jesus fail but the love of Jesus Himself never fails. He never stops caring , never stops praying, never looks for revenge but always for the good that can come out of this situation.

The other contrast I see is between freedom and bondage. Jesus is portrayed as in charge all the way through. He knows who is going to betray Him. He casual mentions He could call 12,000 angels if He wanted to. He lets Himself be crucified.

Judas and Pilate are the opposite. They are struggling to do the right thing but their sin is too strong. For Judas it is greed and for Pilate it is fear. Jesus gives them both huge opportunities to break free yet He lets them choose knowing they will choose to condemn Him. They are not consumed by hatred like the pharisees yet they just can't seem to do what they know is right.

The question then comes, who do you want to be? Do you want to be the one whose hatred turns to violence or do you want to be the one enduring suffering for the sake of love? Do you want to be free? Pilate was a governor but was powerless. Jesus was a prisoner yet was able to accomplish exactly what He wanted an touch a lot of lives on the way.

Judas was more the modern man. Let us ignore the rules. Rules limit my freedom. He ended up with money he literally could not give away and a conscience that led him to suicide. Modern society would blame Jesus for making him feel guilty. That is always the lie the devil tells. Don't blame your sin for your guilt feelings. Blame the nearest saint. They are the ones who made you feel bad.

The gospel ends with the death of Jesus. Willing to go all the way and give His life. We pause there. That is the way it goes with our little martyrdoms. When we sacrifice something for Jesus and it hurts. Then there is this pause. We need to believe that it is worth it. The evidence that is was does not come right away. We need to have faith that God will accept our offering and somehow turn this defeat into victory.

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