We have less than a week to live
by Jim Hutson
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'So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him. They began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!”' John 12:13 (NET)
"You have only one week to live," your doctor tells you when you sit down in his office to discuss the latest results of the battery of tests that were performed on you. The disease has overcome all known medical prevention and all that's left (as they say) is the dying.
We all have one week to live, at least those of us who have the terminal 'illness' the world seems to declare Christianity to be. But, even those of us who have died upon that cross of Calvary, the very action that is in culmination of everything Christianity is established upon, are too often busy with the thoughts of bunnies and candy, a holiday, and the 'required' church service.
The single most spectacular and defining event in Christianity, dare I say the whole of human history, has become commonplace and boring. Too 'celebrated' to learn anything new.
Jesus knew that he was coming to Jerusalem to complete the mission that he came to earth to complete, and being fully God, he knew the exact timetable in which the event of his death would happen. Fame over his resurrection of Lazarus has reached the gathering throngs at the capital city and hundreds (if not thousands) gather with their Feast of the Tabernacle palm leafs to pay homage to the promised Messiah.
They gathered to show their support to the King that they thought would restore Israel to prominence and strength through the physical wrestling of the nation from its imprisonment under foreign kings. They believed he was from God due to his miracle of Lazarus' resurrection, but failed to recognize that he was the son of God himself.
They might have remembered that Zechariah predicted that this would be the physical "pronouncement" of the awaited King…."Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (NIV). It was probably easy for the elated crowd to ignore the fact that the donkey was considered in the Books of Law to be unclean, as shown in Leviticus 11: 2, 3, and 26 and in Exodus 13:13.
And certainly not a single person in the crowd would've predicted that they would be shouting in week again, this time to condemn a rebel to death because he failed to deliver on the perceived promise.
We all share this type of experience to one degree or another. The initial honoring of our entrance into the church, 'seekers' of the truth astride our sins being met by those who have preconceived ideas of what we will be. I have. And, as we find too often in the church today, there is that period--- a 'week' later where those same people ignore or condemn you for the failure to deliver upon their dreams.
Or, we have been on fire about God and our salvation, diving into the waters of baptism and faith with an eagerness of the young only to realize a 'week' later that we're just not cut out for the Christian life. The things we are called to do by our Heavenly Father are too dangerous, too commonplace, or required too much faith. It is easier for us to sin and ask forgiveness later…..
Jesus knew that the ministry he had prior to this entrance into the holy city was coming to an end. He knew that there was nothing but death to greet him upon his exit from the city proper. And he knew that he would have to walk out, battered and beaten, so weak that he would have to have another carry the cross upon which he would die.
He knew he would face betrayal, doubt, violence, and pain. He knew that the very people in the crowd cheering him would stand in silent condemnation upon that hill outside the city where they waited for him to die.
He knew that time was growing short.
We should remember, this Palm Sunday, of this very fact. That we once were in that crowd that greeted the King of Israel, the salvation of all mankind, and gave him praise and honor based upon our expectations of what he was. And we, each of us, drove the nails into his hands a week later. There is no way that we should ever lose the shame of these events or forget the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ which allows us to be redeemed from that shame.
Our Lord rides triumphant into the city this day. Are we there to receive him? Knowing we have a week to live?
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Powerful words and ones I appreciate very much. As usual I do look within articles for ideas or thoughts that lead to other articles and yours was a gold mine. However, I will have to offer the other side of the critique and that is, I noticed phrases which I believe were weak. I for one do not endorse the, if I may phrase it thus, the street fighting style of some writers when what is needed are the crisp and deliberate "blows" of the boxer. Sadly, many do not care to have the wind knocked out of them and for the most part, such actions are unnecessary but Ananias and Sapphira are proof enough that occasionally we've got to just "let 'em have it" and I feel that you held back on points that needed to be even more potent than they were here. I'll say in closing, that these are my observations and they may be worth something, but then again, they may not be worth the time it took to read them. Only you would know this, all I can do is suggest the possibility.