“When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the
whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they
had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ (Luke 19:37-38a).”
We have noted many times that the Gospel writers devote an enormous amount of
attention to the last week of our Lord’s ministry. Here in Luke’s Gospel the final week
begins here in chapter 19 and it extends up to and includes the crucifixion of our Lord in
chapter 23. That’s nearly four chapters devoted to less than one week in Jesus’ life,
something that is truly remarkable in view of the fact that only 18 chapters have been
required up to this point to narrate his entire life of just over thirty years! The passage
quoted above rises to a crescendo of praise and prayer as the Lord enters the great city; but
shortly after the praise will plummet into resistance, judgment and condemnation, until the
horrific events of Good Friday have run their course.
Perhaps the message the Gospel writers send to us this week is: slow down and
reflect deeply on the kind of victory that God has won through the death and resurrection of
Jesus! Beneath the frenetic pace at which many of us live, there is another drama unfolding.
God is working and moving in our world to bring about God’s good purposes and his work is
exactly like what we see in Jesus. Just as Jesus encountered enormous resistance during this
final week, just as the powers-that-be made every conceivable effort to snuff him out at the
cross, so there is resistance to God’s renewing power today. We see that in the news
headlines, local politics and all too often in our own hearts. And yet, just as it appeared that
God’s purposes in Jesus had been wholly thwarted, Easter Sunday heralds a different story.
Jesus has won the victory! He has reconciled God and humans. He has opened the door to
God’s renewing work in our world and that door can never be shut.
Our own little lives are taken up into God’s greater story, the story of rescue and
redemption and renewal. God is renewing us, even now, as we unite our lives with God’s
purposes by faith. And God is making us agents of renewal in and on behalf of the world.
Tragically, many are never aware of this larger drama. Even many Christian people do not
realize that their lives are part of God’s greater story. This week, especially this week, let us
slow down to perceive this wonder: Through death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has won
the victory over the powers of death, decay and despair. Hosanna in the highest!