The Real Deal
Israel has endured over 60 years of foreign rule – oppressive rule
a wrong word or threatening glance could get you killed
life was high taxes, forced military service, & forced worship of the emperor as a god
the Jewish people longed for a savior – a military king
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem suggested him to be the real deal – sort of
the people spread clothes & branches on the road – a sign of honor & celebration
they cry, “Save us!” & “Blessed is the one…” – they are quoting Psalm 118
it echoes Solomon’s entry into Jerusalem – to a degree – in 1 Kings
but Jesus rides in on a donkey – thus he is not a warrior king but a subservient one
The Romans, outsiders, probably did not recognize the events, given the lack of response
but the Pharisees (religious people) knew!
It was either blasphemy or political suicide. Either way, it was bad news!
And the crowd would not be silenced. They thought J was the real deal. Why?
Some had seen the miracles – healings, feedings, the dead raised
Others had heard his teachings – earlier in Matthew he tells us that Jesus taught like someone w/ authority & not like their legal experts
And still others had probably heard from someone else, an eyewitness, & were just curious
How do we identify the real deal? What “certificate of authenticity” do we require?
Some look to celebrities, sports figures, or business leaders
Others look to crystals, science, or horoscopes & fortunetellers
Some look to family, personal relationships, careers or material goods
All of these lead to disappointment, time after time after time
Today here before us is J
J is the real deal!
It is proven in the events of Holy Week
Especially Thursday & Friday
J is willing to suffer & die; not for himself, for his wrongdoings. He is willing to suffer – for us. He is willing to die – for us & our sins
And thanks be to God, he rises again for us!
Do you feel discouraged that you haven’t turned to God in times of anxiety or doubt? We are not the only ones blinded to the real deal
The same crowds that shouted “Hosanna!”, in 5 days cried, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But they did not have the advantage of the whole picture; they could not see the end of the story
We have that advantage!
I invite you, as we enter the holiest of weeks, to embrace the real deal
To accept Jesus’ saving acts for yourself (Read Matt 26:14-27:66)
To come to the foot of the cross w/ gratitude, awe, & praise
And to embrace Jesus – who is waiting to embrace you
Let us pray: Merciful God, we tremble when we think how easily Judas betrayed you. We shake at all the times we have denied you like Peter before us, through our words & our actions. May your words live w/in us & strengthen us, that we may keep our eyes focused on the cross & walk w/ Christ to the end. Amen.