Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 13, 2014

what happened?!

I wonder what the buzz was like on the streets of Jerusalem as dawn broke on the Sunday we find ourselves celebrating today.  I can conjure it in my mind’s eye, but I wonder how close my picture is to what it was really like.  The hopes and dreams of an entire nation were rising to a crescendo.  The King was coming, and no one was going to miss the parade.

We know the “story.”  We have been taught the sequence of events over and over.  We see the starting point and endpoint all at the same time.  We hear today’s triumphant cries of “Hosanna!” echo back “Crucify Him!” only a handful of days later.  What happened?!  It all had to happen.  It was all a part of God’s redemptive plan.  But what happened?!

There are significant details and truths that I can draw from to attempt to answer that question as it relates to “them” and “then.”  The cry of “Hosanna!” … it wasn’t the jubilant, praise-type word I was left thinking it was after being taught the Bible story as a child.  The palm branch … it wasn’t just a natural material in large supply that was commonly waved during a parade-like procession.  The small donkey … it wasn’t a random choice carrying the Messiah into the city that day.

I pause for a minute to make this personal.  I have found myself in this place many times before.  My hopes and dreams or very real needs had risen to a crescendo, and I knew my King was coming.  As beautiful as this Palm Sunday story looked on the flannel graph of my youth, and as important as it is that we take time during Holy Week to experience the details of the events in Jesus’ life, I am more interested in what this means in your life and my life right now.  The Bible is the living and breathing Word of God, and the “then” and them” always speaks to the “us” and “now.”

Can you remember a time when your hopes and dreams or very real needs came to a crescendo and you found yourself running to grab a front row spot to see the King you knew was coming?  What were the words that flowed in the form of thoughts and prayers?  What did you hold onto in the form of expectations of the coming King?  How did He show up?  What did He look like as He traveled through it with you?  What did He do?  Or maybe the better question is what did He not do?

I believe that question is at the heart of the answer to the “what happened?!” I posed above.  In the context of “them” and “then,” I believe it’s as simple as Jesus was not the messiah they expected.  They wanted a conquering hero on a war-horse to deliver them.  What they got was Jesus, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)

Is it so hard to see why the cries of “Hosanna!” turned to “Crucify Him!” only a few days later?  What is our cry when God shows up in the midst of our hopes and dreams or very real needs, and looks far less like the Savior we want Him to be?

We need a Savior.  The world needs a Savior.  Let the truth of Scripture remind us to see Him and share Him as He is.  Let the work of his Spirit transform us to be like Him.  May we pick up our cross and walk the road with Him and those He has given us to walk beside in this life.  May the question of “what happened?!” be the one others ask us, because they have experienced Him through our decision to follow Him.

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