This week, we celebrated both Palm and Passion Sunday as we walked with Jesus from His triumphal entry in Jerusalem to His death on a Roman cross. In his message on the topic, Michael Edgar challenged us to put ourselves in the shoes of the pharisees, followers, and disciples surrounding Jesus in His last week on earth, in order to focus our devotion on Christ.
Is Christ King in Our Lives?
Our story begins on Palm Sunday, with Jesus entering Jerusalem to loud hosannas and cries of praise. He strategically positions Himself as a gentle, humble King, making reference to Zechariah's prophecies about a King riding on a donkey. In His act of entering Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, he deliberately proclaims Himself as the King who brings peace. After this and many other signs performed by Jesus, John tells us that "many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God." (John 12:42-43)
Jesus is King, regardless of whether we acknowledge Him as such, but let us learn from those leaders in John's account of the gospel. Let us examine ourselves to see whether we are acknowledging Jesus's Kingship in our lives or whether we are hiding in fear because of our love for human praise.
Will we remain faithful?
As we move through the accounts of Jesus's last days on earth, we come to his arrest at the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus's arrest was not only unjust, but illegal; those accusing and arresting him were not acting in accordance with the law -- that's why they had to act secretly, in the dark of night. Jesus's disciples could have stood their ground with Jesus, especially knowing that they were in the right under the law. But instead, they fled.
Will we flee, when we are unjustly accused because of Christ, or will we remain faithful to Him. Will we, with Peter, deny our Lord, or will we openly confess our praise?
Even Pilate, in his half-mocking, half-misunderstanding, managed to acknowledge the truth about Christ when he engraved "Jesus, King of the Jews" His cross's signpost. But Jesus's own followers fled, denied, and mocked him. Let us not follow the mob as they turn on Christ in His final hours. Instead, let us cling to our King in worship, dying to fear and to self in the example that Christ himself set.
This Sunday, we will celebrate the glorious ending to this story: Christ's resurrection from the dead! Please join us at 10:45 am for our morning worship service, and stay after the service for a special Easter lunch.