Last night the Great Fast ended, as we entered the feast of the raising of Lazarus (Saturday), and the high feast of the Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday).
These two days are distinguished by the crown of Christ’s miracles, raising Lazarus to life after being dead for four days, and the first and only time that Christ is openly acknowledged as the Messiah in the capital of Jerusalem.
Throughout the course of the Great Fast we have seen Jesus teaching his disciples and showing them what is needed to follow Him. But with the sickness and death of Lazarus , and his decision to walk into the political and spiritual hornets nest of Jerusalem, Christ meets the fallen aspirations and desires of this world with a love that conquers death, by His voluntary passion and death. His greeting by the people of Jerusalem is that of a saviour . The question to us now, as it was to them in Jerusalem, is “the saviour of what”?
Like the people of Jerusalem, do we receive the spectacle of a man risen from the dead, or do we receive He who raised Lazarus, who is Himself the “Resurrection and Life” (Jn. 11:25)? Do we receive an earthly kingdom which all passes away, or a “kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28).
Is the Jesus Christ we sing “Hosanna in the Highest” to, a glorified politician, and liberating teacher, or the anointed one of God, who sits at the right hand of God the Father (Ps. 109:1). For our participation with Him this Great and Holy week, understanding his teachings and work, and witnessing His saving passion, and death, are dependent on this.
If we expect an earthly liberator who will make us rich, and dispose of the ugly elements of life and those “sinners”, we will be like those who showed up and then left, having been sorrowful at His hard sayings (Jn.6:60/ 6:66), or will we be like those who even in fear and sadness were consoled beyond understanding at His empty tomb.
May the Lord bless this week with peace and understanding.