People are attracted to celebrities. We spend a lot of time watching and talking about celebrities whether they are Hollywood actors or talented athletes or national politicians. They are, so it seems, the superstars of our society. We, too, like the idea of fame based on all the pictures and videos we take and post of ourselves. Being famous must be important or why else do we seek and savor it so much?
It was less than a week before the great commemoration. The town was in the midst of busy preparation and keen anticipation of their foremost observance of the year. Then, suddenly, there was a commotion. There he was: now entering their town was the man considered to be the superstar of their time. They rushed eagerly to him praising him and singing glory to his name:
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38)
Jesus paraded in to Jerusalem on the back of a colt. Here was the man who had healed the lame, made the blind see, and brought the dead back to life. The crowd brimmed with elation shouting, “Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.” Here strode their hero.
But what Jesus felt was something different, something sad. Jesus wept. He said:
“Would that you—even you—had known on this day the things that make for peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes. (Luke 19:42)
He had come to the time of the fulfillment of his mission. He had gone to the people to tell them of the message of God the Father. He had shared with them the words of God, he was the Word. He had given his grace to them through helping and healing. And now, here at this moment, yes, they were captivated by him. For now.
But within the week, Jesus would be rejected by them. Their adoration wouldn’t endure the fears inflicted on them by the authorities who felt threatened by Jesus. He would be betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, seized by the police, slapped by a priest, and tortured by the state. He would hear the people cheer for the freedom of a disreputable thief in exchange for his death, and, as a result, be nailed to a tree. And no one would come to of his defense. No one would say, “I stand with this man, Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus’ mission wasn’t about being recognized as a superstar in search of the fleeting adulation of the crowd. His mission was about faith: faith in his teachings, faith in his works, faith in God who sent him.
We have a choice: stand firm with Jesus Christ or stand apart and alone.
Where do you stand?
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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