Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why did the cheering stop?

Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday as it is also known as…a day where we cheer and yell “Hosanna” and cheer the procession of Jesus our Lord, our Savior, our King into Jerusalem!

People line the streets with the coats and praise the glorious entrance of Jesus.

It is a cheerful, celebratory day that marks the beginning of one of the most difficult, blessed, holy times of the church year. Holy Week.

In a sense, Palm Sunday was Jesus coming out party and preparing to take his rightful place as king, but as the people were soon to see, it was not the kind of king they were expecting.

In a matter of days, the crowd of people that so gloriously welcomed Jesus as the rightful king and the savior, we calling for his crucifixion.    

What happened in that time?

Why did these people who welcomed him with such enthusiasm just a few days ago now call for his death?

Why did the cheering stop?

Well, to understand this more fully, we have to take a look at the events of the week itself.

Then, Jesus curses the fig tree for being barren.  Then he enters the temple and clears it of the money changers.

Jesus was angered by the lack of worship taking place in the temple.  His father’s house, a place of worship, had become a “den of robbers”.  In anger he yells and flips the tables.  The temple, that was built for worship was not bearing the fruit of its purpose. 

The nest day, as Jesus and the disciples pass by the fig tree again, Jesus stops to talk to the disciples about faith. 

Many of these are described in the parables in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 20, and John 12.

But still, what was different.  Where did the cheering go?

If you read these parables, one thing that sticks out, that is normal for us, but a huge change back then, was that this was for everyone.  There was no speculation as to who you should love; the answer to that question was everyone.

This was a change from his teachings before which mostly dealt with the Kingdom of Heaven.  That was something that the people enjoyed hearing about, it gave them hope.  They believed it was about reclaiming Jerusalem and ridding themselves of the oppression of Roman rule.  Something anybody would be happy to hear about.

But that was not what Jesus had in mind.  His Kingdom was not something that they could grasp or understand. 

His teachings shifted from the new kingdom to the commitment it would take.  “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:14)

And the main reason the cheering stopped, Jesus stopped talking about easy to hear things that made everyone happy and started talking more about a cross.

This is not an easy thing and it is not meant to be.

It is challenging.  It is difficult.  It takes commitment.  It takes a cross.

Why did the cheering stop?

Because Jesus began talking more and more about a cross.

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