Dear Immanuel family,
Years ago in our Catholic Spanish Language Institute in Bolivia, one of the articles we were handed said, “Jesus Christ triumphed in his failure.” I debated the point by saying that Jesus came for one purpose, to shed his blood on the cross for our sins, and that in no way could his death be seen as a failure. But they weren’t the first to misunderstand what Jesus came to this earth to do.
As we read the Biblical narrative of the events of this coming Sunday, Palm Sunday, I have always been puzzled as to how the people could one day shout “Hosanna, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord” and later in the week they say, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Jesus did enter the city like a king, but the crowd did not understand the type of kingdom that Christ wanted to reign in. “He wears no crown except a crown of thorns, ….about his loins he wears no purple,…upon his feet there are no silver sandals bedight (adorned) with pearls, yet he is more glorious than you.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
After having raised Lazarus from the dead days before, Jesus’ popularity soared. And now with the roars and accolades of the people, it would have been easy for Jesus to yield to the peoples’ opinion and become their king. It is presumed that many among the crowd didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but supported him in hopes that his kingship would rid Israel of the Roman occupation forces. They had seen his miracles, surely he could turn this power against Rome.
But Jesus had a different kingdom in mind, as he does today. Rev. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way, “In Christ's kingdom . . . you must be a disciple; to sit at his feet is the honor which he will give you. Hearing his words obeying his commands, receiving of his grace—this is true dignity, this is true magnificence. The poorest man that loves Christ, or the humblest woman who is willing to accept him as her teacher, becomes at once one of the nobility that wait upon Christ Jesus. What a kingdom is this which makes fishermen nobles, and peasants princes while they remain but fishermen and peasants still! This is the kingdom of which we speak, in which discipleship is the highest degree, in which divine service is the patent of nobility.” (From sermon “The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem”)
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)