Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Tale of Three Palm Sundays

Dozens of children paraded around the sanctuary waving palm branches this morning while the congregation sang "Hosanna, Loud Hosannas", "Blessed Is He That Comes In The Name of the Lord", and All Glory, Laud and Honor, To Thee Redeemer King". What a celebration of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem!

But, it's a bitter-sweet celebration. Jesus accepted the accolades of the crowd, knowing they were short-lived. The perfect Lamb of God was going to the slaughter, but not unwittingly, like a real lamb. He knew what was coming.

We have a week now to contemplate that.

I remember that as a brand new believer, not at all well-versed in the Bible, I thought Jesus somehow got tricked into being captured and killed. Then, later, when I read the verses from Psalm 22, quoted by Jesus as he hung on the cross, I was confused again. How could those words, written so long before the time of Jesus, tell so exactly how everything would come about? I asked a handy adult to explain this to me. I was told that Jesus knew the Old Testament so well he was able to engineer things to fit the scenario from the Psalm. I was told that he did that to convince people he was God!

Thank goodness, I had the Holy Spirit to give me discernment! Even at that young age, when I was told that, it somehow felt "off". It didn't ring true. If Jesus was just some guy who was trying to make himself look like he was God, well, then, there was no sense in believing in him at all! But lots of people did, and, for some reason, I did too.

There was nothing for it; I would just have to keep reading the Bible until it made sense. And that's what I did. Finally, a few years later, I found a church where there were also people who had read the Bible until they understood it, and they gently helped me put things together.

All that time, I was a believer. Just very confused about a few things. But one thing I did know: Jesus is who he said he is. I hung on to that, and the other things began to clear up.

Is it any wonder that my favorite hymn is "I Know Whom I Have Believed"?

"I know not how God's wondrous love to me He has made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for His own.
But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day!"

The Bible says that if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will surely find Him. That's what happened to me.

Forty years ago, on Palm Sunday, I publicly professed my faith in Jesus Christ. I was baptized the following Sunday, Easter.

Thanks for hanging in there with me all these years, Lord Jesus!

No comments: