Earth shaking turn arounds in sports settings always turn a head and start a conversation. Teams that wallow in last place and limp into the offseason can enter a new year and take the championship. These transformations are often called the 'worst to first' moments. No team ever strives to work in reverse in this process. First to worst is to be avoided!
The second day into Holy Week finds us looking at Jesus and His decision to set aside, leave behind, and turn away from the power of heavenly comfort. Jesus rode into Jerusalem and met frenzied people looking for a king adorned in power and might who would overthrow an oppressive government. By now, murmurings are rippling through the city and Jesus is not showing signs of overthrowing anything. Another metaphor from Sunday Palm and Passion worship was of the crowns Jesus could / would wear. Pastor Karen showed the children two kinds of crowns. One was shimmering in gold while the other was a gnarly spikey looking thing that looked hideous.
Two competing images are being thrust together. Jesus chose to set aside the gold crown of status and comfort (heaven as home) to assume the crown of suffering (earthly home of suffering). While the Jerusalem residents had their hearts set on a king of victory, they would soon be introduced to a king of defeat. It is counterintuitive to seek loss and suffering over victory and adulation. Jesus set the bar low enough that anyone can achieve this feat. In fact, I would offer the idea that unless we are willing to become servants to those around us, we'll be utterly disappointed in our faith journey.
"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude
should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with
God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant,being made
in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient
to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name
that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and
under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father."
(Philippians 2:4-11, NIV)
You can see the issue here. We have to choose the path of servanthood over prestige and power. We have to consider the real possibility of suffering and pain. At the end of the day, our life will have to align with God's will and expectation and not the expectations of those around us. Perhaps the biggest nemisis in this matter is our own strivings. Most people would not seek to be a servant or experience loss. But...it's okay if we don't reside in luxury; it's okay if we are part of the 'have nots'; and it's okay if we are viewed as failures. Jesus Christ will reward our faithfulness in this matter. Jesus will return as a King complete with the gold crown and we'll experience the fullness of His Kingly power.
Look for an opportunity to serve your family, neighbors, coworkers or classmates today. Bend to the task of being downwardly mobile.