palmsundaySometimes I believe I will never understand it. The fickleness of humanity, other times I realize that I can be the same way. Good Friday really seems to bring this into focus. The painting I am sharing here is one I did a few years ago in my church for Palm Sunday. It’s the same person in two very different states of mind, divided by the palm branch. I think maybe we need a refresher on the time line.

The face on the left represents Palm Sunday. On this day Jesus had what we call the triumphal entry. Jesus enters Jerusalem, riding on a donkey’s colt. Big man on a little horse, you might think but this was symbolic. When a king entered a city looking for war, he would ride in on a stallion, when he came in peace, he would ride in on a donkey. Jesus was showing He was a king but that he came in peace and the people responded. They threw their cloaks and palm branches down on the streets for Him to ride on. It was an act of submission, “Please Jesus, be our king!” They shouted praise,”Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” All appeared to be right with the world, and Jesus was finally getting the recognition He deserved.

Five days later, on Good Friday, some of those same people would be screaming, “CRUCIFY!” Why the change? That’s right, not weeks or months, five short days produced a seismic shift. One might ask “Why?” Well the crowds were incited to be sure, and of course it was God’s will that Jesus die for the people, for us, but I want to look at the human nature side of this. What made the people turn? I think it was this simple. They began to see that Jesus was not going to do what they wanted Him to do. They didn’t want Messiah to come in peace. They wanted Him to overthrow the Romans and take over. They wanted the wealth that comes with being in charge. They wanted to rule. They wanted power and all that comes with it and if Jesus wasn’t going to deliver that, He wasn’t who they wanted. Kill Him and move on.

They were short sighted and so are we. What they could not see is He did come to overthrow. Not Rome, because He would die for them too. No He came to overthrow a much more powerful enemy, the real enemy, the one who keeps us slaves to sin. He came to give us the power of God in our lives and the eternal wealth of becoming heirs to God’s Kingdom. What they could not see is He came to give them so much more than what they wanted and what He gave would last forever. They didn’t want forever, they wanted stuff now, so they screamed “Crucify.”

Don’t fall into that trap. He never promised us an easy life in the here and now, but rather perfect eternal life when the struggles of this life are through. It’s much more valuable, but harder to see. The thing is if He can only be God if He does what you want, He’s not God, you are. We need Him to be God.

Trust Him. He will deliver. He is good. He is God.

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