God’s Will/My Will: From Diminishing to Flourishing – Community – Am I engaged in Christian Community? Intentional Engagement
1 Cor 12:12-31, Mt 12:46-50
The Lent season has led us to Palm Sunday, where the life of God’s own Son takes center stage, at the center of history, to fulfill God’s central mission of redemption. This week’s drama (of Palm Sunday, our Wednesday Seder Service celebrating Passover, Good Friday Stations of the Cross, and Easter Celebration) is the core of God’s redemptive design for His world. It isn’t some unrelated story to you or me, it is THE story for you and me and for the entire world.
The fulfillment of God’s covenant promises, from of old, come together during passion week as Jesus willingly accepts the necessity of dying on a cross, bearing the penalty and curse of our sin. The salvation achieved for us in Jesus death is deeply profound and mysterious – yet, sure, grounded in historical reality.
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The irony of Palm Sunday couldn’t be more evident for us as students of the Word – Jesus, as the Lord and King of our lives, becomes this by way of self-sacrifice. On what we know as Palm Sunday, Jesus and his disciples are in Jerusalem, making the yearly pilgrimage to the Passover feast. And as Jesus has been predicting his death, the necessity of his crucifixion, the disciples are in denial… certainly naïve to what the Son of God/Son of Man is about to remain faithful and obedient to… as they cross the Kidron Valley, where the blood of slain lambs flows through the valley floor, the people are aware of the life of one to cover another, steeped in an Exodus out of slavery long ago, to cover a couple, a family, a household… redemption.
Passion Week is filled with real historical drama. As the people wave palm branches, the sign of royalty – and as Jesus’ rides on a donkey to a procession worthy of the kings of old, as people spread out their cloaks on the ground before him, they shout, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” You have to wonder what is in Jesus’ heart and mind, in his eyes as he sees the rejoicing throngs. As his disciples join in the throng, he is being proclaimed King! And in only a few days… Jesus will wash their feet as the Master of all serves his disciples, shows them the full extent of his love, continuing to encourage them to follow him. And as they sit down and share the Passover meal, he directly says the meal is really about him and his once and for all soon coming crucifixion.
Later that night, he will be taken away by mob force, betrayed by one of his own, denied by his chief disciple – claiming no association with this Jesus… highly dramatic, grounded in history. And Jesus’ life, his blood, is truly shed (given) on our behalf.
And so it is, that at the center of Scripture, at the center of history, of God’s story of redemption is Jesus – who faithfully, willingly, obediently, by way of a Holy Spirit conception, a virgin birth, a faithful obedient life, an exercising of authority over illness, over the demonic, over the creation, becomes a substitutionary, once for all, shedding of another’s blood, a perfect sacrifice, leading to a complete forgiveness of sin, the eradication of guilt and shame… concluded with an exclamation point – a resurrection from the dead, a victory over sin, death, and hell! Easter morning is coming soon!
See you Sunday for a Palm Sunday celebration as we enter into God’s story of redemption,