The giants hit town recently and so captured our imaginations we didn’t quite know how to view these 11-metre diver and 6-metre girl puppets. So massive were their proportions they required a support crew of over a hundred red-clad ‘little’ people, and a purported one million people showed up to see the fantasy unfold. It was breathtaking.
You could say the city was abuzz. Our populace had never seen anything like it before – the imagination, the science, the engineering, the art. The prevailing attitude was buoyant on the wings of wonder and it verged into disbelief by observation of onlookers.
Many of us would speculate on the cost and dimensions of such an extravaganza.
With that in mind we come close to depicting what it might have been like to be in that happening metropolis, Jerusalem, the day Jesus entered it for the last time:
“Now after Jesus had entered Jerusalem, the whole city was abuzz, asking, ‘Just who is this man?’”
— Matthew 21:10
There were so many who rightly worshipped Jesus that first Palm Sunday, just days before the most significant Passover event in the history of the world. They had just witnessed the crowds ushering Jesus, saying, “Hosanna to David’s descendant! Blessing rests on him who comes in the Lord’s name. Hosanna in the highest!”
Yet, there were also those who were also just going along for the ride.
They were doing what was the popular thing. Some of them might also have been in the crowd not a week later, screaming, “Crucify him, crucify him!”
Not everyone by any stretch knew who Jesus was.
We are faced with the same issue. The crisis of our lives is not how we will pay off our mortgage if we are made redundant, or how we will manage if our spouse leaves us prematurely, or, for that matter, what we will do if we are overcome by some disease or disorder. The crisis of our lives – from an eternal context – is knowing the salvation of Jesus Christ.
It’s not like these other situations that can easily happen to us are unimportant. We will be afflicted with anxiety, racked with grief, and undone by loss. But every negative thing pales in significance in view of the destination just beyond us.
The most important question of our lives could well be, “Just who is this Jesus?” He is not a religion. He is a man who cuts to the heart of life, death, and everything else. He is a man to be known. He’s a person to be experienced.
Jesus redefines life itself. His teaching, his life, his way, his example. Jesus is love. He’s peace. He’s justice. He’s hope. And, because of what he’s about to do on the cross, he’s grace. And, through the resurrection, come Sunday, he’s power for the abundant life and, indeed, he’s power over every impossible thing in God’s name.
This Jesus we enquire of is our power source, he’s our forgiveness, and he’s hope beyond this burdensome life and its perplexing complexities. This Jesus is the truth that sets us free. This Jesus is the love of God that teaches us a transforming love that forgives its enemies. This Jesus is the paradoxical power for peace – he’s a force giving us the credo, ethos, and desire to make peace with everyone so we might, finally, be at peace.
This Jesus is also a King. He’s the King over all kings. And his Kingship is one that was lauded that first Palm Sunday, and those who knew it were blessed about as much as anyone could be.
Who is this Jesus?
This living, incarnate Son,
God’s only eternal One,
Comes to each of us to save,
To make us ever honest and brave.
Lord and loving light,
Most precious in the Father’s sight,
Lord of every created being,
He is the only lordship that’s freeing.
King over all existence,
Monarch beyond resistance,
Jesus, the King over every king,
In the eternal heavens let it ring!
That’s who Jesus was that first Palm Sunday: God incarnate. Saviour from eternity, who makes us all we’ve ever wanted to be. Jesus is our Lord and loving light. His Lordship points us to his Kingship. There is no king like him.
Jesus is the truth that sets us free.
His love for us makes fear cease.
He gives us grace to forgive our enemy.
This Jesus is the power for peace.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.