“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Isaiah 29:13
While walking in my neighborhood Monday afternoon, I saw a dried up palm branch lying in the road. In case you didn’t know, this past Sunday was Palm Sunday. We retold and remembered the story of Jesus triumphantly riding into Jerusalem on a donkey while people praised and hailed Jesus as King with their palm branches. It got me thinking, how many dried Palm branches were scattered and blown around the city of Jerusalem the days following Jesus’ parade? I’m sure they didn’t have a clean up crew. It also got me thinking of how symbolic those dried up branches were to the crowds fickle attitude. They were anxiously awaiting a Savior to come in and liberate them. They were praising Jesus shouting “Hosanna”, which means save us, and then just a few days later were shouting, “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21) In the days after the parade, I guess the crowd realized Jesus wasn’t the earthly King they wanted. They lost hope and went back to their jobs and families and life. Their excitement that God had sent a King dried up and blew away just like the palm branches scattered about the city.
Right now, we are in the midst of Holy Week. It begins with Palm Sunday, moves towards Jesus’ death on Good Friday, and ends with His resurrection on Easter. This week, more so than any other, we as Christ followers focus on our sin. Sin meaning the things that keep us from right relationship with God and others. This is a heavy week. In a few days, we can rejoice and celebrate Jesus’ life and resurrection. However, today and over the next few days, we need to sit with the heaviness, that in His unfathomable love, He suffered and died for us– a sinful, rebellious, and ever wandering people. We say one thing and our actions prove another. This week we remember the One who is truly holy, and who we are in light of Him. He is God and we are not! He is working for our good even when it doesn’t match our plan.
In my last two blogs, I’ve shared what God has placed on my heart concerning faith. Faith is having absolute and unshakeable trust that God’s words are true. Do you truly believe that God sent His Son to die for you? If so, are you living like it? I ask myself this same question and honestly, it is extremely convicting. Are we like the crowds praising Jesus with our lips and then crucifying Him with our actions throughout the week? Are we spending time with Him, communing with Him, making Him Lord over everything in our life?
The next few days, let’s sit with the heaviness that we are in desperate need of a Savior and remember everything Jesus went through for us. Each day, let us wholeheartedly seek to know Him so that our faith doesn’t become dry and tossed out when our busy life and hectic schedules get in the way. Let us remember that we have a Savior who is still in the business of making the dead live again. In the Old Testament, God showed His great power in the temples, but in the New Testament, that great power that raised Jesus from the dead is in us, His people. Jesus’s resurrection enables and empowers us to continue God’s mission here on earth. Lets fix our eyes on ONE name, the most precious, life-giving, power filled name… JESUS.