Editor's Note: This is the second of two columns discussing the last week of Jesus's life before his crucifixion.
On Sunday, the people declared Jesus to be their king. On Friday, Jesus lay dead in a tomb.
One day, the people were ecstatic Jesus came to Jerusalem and pledged their loyalty to him. But just a few days later, many of those same people who shouted “Hosanna!” were shouting, “Crucify him!”
That’s quite a drastic change. What happened?
The religious leaders felt threatened by the way Jesus’ knowledge and authority challenged their corrupt practices.
Factions looking for a military leader to physically fight Rome and free them from that oppression were disillusioned.
People who followed Jesus because it seemed to be the popular thing to do were easily swayed from their devotion.
Jesus didn’t fit the mold of who the people expected God’s Messiah to be. They were looking for someone to meet their interpretations, their expectations. Because he didn’t, because he challenged them to grow beyond their limited knowledge and understanding of what God desired of them, they had him crucified. He was killed, placed in a tomb, and left for dead.
In many ways, not much has changed in 2,000 years. Many people still expect Jesus to be the Messiah they want or demand him to be.
Many use him as an excuse to perpetuate violence against those whose beliefs don't resemble their own.
Many follow him half-heartedly, when it suits their schedule, when it is convenient, or when it doesn’t challenge them to question their own actions or motives.
Every time someone turns their back on Jesus, he is crucified all over again. Every time someone uses Jesus for their personal gain, he is crucified all over again. Every time someone corrupts his message, he is crucified all over again.
On Saturday, though, while the disciples mourned and the religious leaders gloated, God was still at work. The crucifixion and death of Jesus were not the end — they were just the beginning.
On Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead, proving once and for always that absolutely nothing can defeat the power and purpose of God. Absolutely nothing can thwart the message Jesus brought to this earth. Jesus rose from the dead and is still the savior of sinners today.
The good news is, Jesus is never defeated. He still overcomes our inadequacies, our fickleness, our misinterpretations, our misunderstandings. In love and grace, he takes our mistakes and helps turn them into a life lesson to improve who we are, and to help us better understand who he is.
Easter is a day of new life. It is proof that our living God, our living Savior will stop at nothing to win us into a life of faith, belief, and trust in Almighty God.
Sunday, as you celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, remember the role you played in his crucifixion, and remember why he allowed it to happen.
Then, remember what your great reward is.
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.