The Final Week: Jerusalem
We started a new series this week that’s going to take us through Easter! We’re looking at the events of the final week of Jesus, which I think is a great way to prepare our hearts to contemplate, remember and celebrate what Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection.
This week Pastor Dan took us through the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem the week before His death. How interesting that Jesus had the parade of a peasant as He entered the city from the east, while Pontius Pilate entered from the West as a representative of Rome and all of its pomp and circumstance. I love how Pastor Dan pointed out that these were really two rivals in theology. Jesus, proclaiming His kingship and Sonship directly combats the theology of Rome, that Caesar was God’s son.
I found it convicting and sobering to be reminded of all of Jesus’ followers who abandoned Him by the time He went to the cross. He was not the kind of king they were expecting or wanting. And although He had explained His mission and purpose numerous times, they had turned Him into who they wanted Him to be instead of who He really is.
As Pastor Dan mentioned, this is one of the biggest issues in the North American church today. We don’t know what kind of king Jesus is. Sometimes we’re all too willing to buy into poor theology that claims that Jesus wants our best life now, that He will bless us with material wealth, that He will always heal our physical ailments. But when we look at the life, words and work of Jesus — and when we look at the lives of the disciples after Him — we get a different picture.
The way of Jesus is suffering and death — and then glory. Jesus invites us to come and die. It is not glamorous. It is not pretty. It is not always comfortable. But this is what Jesus demonstrated for us. And it is what He said when He told us that, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Two of the most important questions I was ever asked when I was at seminary were: “Who is God and what is He like?” These are the questions we pondered as we explored the Bible. It is so important that when we go to the Scripture, we go with hearts that are open to how God actually reveals Himself, not how we want Him to. This comes into play when it comes to our theology, our politics, our handling of current culture, etc. Who is God and what is He like? What kind of upside-down kingdom did Jesus institute when He showed His power by dying for us? How does this reality affect our lives today?
May we live out this week reminded of the truth about the kind of King we follow.