How did it go so wrong? The week started out with a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. People were lined up along the road shouting praise – shouting save us (Hosanna). In order for Jesus to save them, He had to die for them. Their expectations were different from God’s way. God says His ways are higher than ours. On the way into the city, Jesus saw the walls of the city and knew the walls would not protect the people from the destruction that was coming. Jesus wept for the people who were inside those walls. The people were shouting praises with their mouths but their hearts were not turned toward Him. What they wanted was a physical savior and a physical protector. They wanted a king. But they had no idea that Jesus was (is) The Savior; He was (is) The Protector; He was (is) the King of Kings.
The week started with praise but ended in crucifixion. Jesus didn’t meet the expectations of the people. He wasn’t there to save them from the government. He didn’t come to make their lives better physically. Yes, they were oppressed. But it was not God’s way. He didn’t take the people out of their circumstances. He walked with them through it. Jesus walked along roads encountering many along the way. Some recognized Jesus and asked for what they needed. Many didn’t know what they needed, but Jesus did. He looked into their hearts and gave them exactly what they needed – grace. In the end, Jesus knew what people need.
The week had a few last teachings. The fig tree was not producing fruit. The money changers were affecting worship and prayers. Jesus came to shake things up. He turned the tables on the religious people. The people’s hearts were not turned over to God. So Jesus turned the tables on them. The fig tree was cursed because there was no fruit. The disciples’ feet needed washing and no one was willing to do it. Jesus bent low to teach the disciples this is what it means to follow me. Bend low and I will raise you up. Jesus bent low once more on a deadly cross so that ultimately we would be lifted up. The cross was the ultimate table turner. Those who turn their hearts toward Jesus are no longer lost in sin, but given a new life through Jesus’ death. No, it’s not our way. We would never have chosen a cross to save someone.
Did the week really go wrong or did it really go right? Jesus knew when He walked into the city that He would be walking out of it to die a gruesome death for everyone who shouted praise and for those who shouted to crucify Him. He also washed the feet of Judas, the one who betrayed Him. God’s ways are not our ways for sure. It’s a good thing too. I needed to be saved. I needed the body broken and bruised. I needed the blood spilled because I too am a sinner who shouts praise one minute and crucifies my brothers and sisters the next. As I contemplate all Jesus did during His last week, I want to walk differently. I want to bend low. And I want the tables turned so that my heart is truly changed for good.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:24-37