Dr. Doug Posey
It’s the grand entrance of a new year and in the coming months what new events lie ahead for you? Are you anticipating anything that will boost you to new levels of achievement, or just a new stage of life? New titles in the offing? Maybe you’re becoming a husband or a “Mrs.” If you’re like me, you’re learning a new stage of life—grand-parenting, and your new name is whatever the little cherub of God’s grace has verbalized in reference to you.
Looking back on the last year, what were the major milestones; what occasions served as celebrations, marking recognitions of elevations to the next phases of your existence? In fact, consider your life, do you recall things like your advancement from primary to secondary school? Was that memorable? Perhaps it was graduation from high school, or college. A real special sense of importance for you may be attached to putting on the regalia for receiving your Masters, or Doctoral degree. Was it your wedding day? How about that major promotion in your career? Did you make a “grand entrance” of sorts as you ascended to a new level and received the recognition you earned and deserved, while you faced a brighter future, or, so you hoped.
If you have been appropriately celebrated for your accomplishments along the way, that’s a good thing. Being the center of attention as your efforts culminated in accolades, applause, maybe even awards, is appropriate, depending upon the circumstance. But, now contrast that to what happened to Jesus, as He entered and was being celebrated 2,000 years ago, descending from Bethphage, to the streets of Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey. Everyone, but Jesus, was more than a little confused about what was going on. They may not have known they were confused. Outwardly, they thought they knew, but they were confused.
Yes, the Lord deserved to be recognized, not just for His accomplishments (e.g., raising the dead—no small feat!), but also for His identity. He was the true King of Israel. The crowd’s confusion lay in the fact that they didn’t really know His true identity. Sure, many saw Him as the rightful heir to David’s throne. That was true, but it wasn’t all. They identified Him as Messiah. Accurate, but not the whole picture. Some also saw Him as “the prophet “ as predicted by Moses in Deuteronomy. But, He was more than that.
Jesus was aware of something they didn’t understand: His grand entrance would soon be His “grand” exit. Their disillusions over His identity would turn their uproarious praise to unbridled repudiation. Looking to Him as their hope for a better life would become a blind rage, and calls for His death, in a matter of days. That sets His grand entrance apart from any you’ve experienced in your life, although ultimately, the outcome would lead to something we couldn’t dream of achieving.
Christ of course knew the eternal outcome would be the salvation of humankind. But, the people were by no means celebrating His sacrifice on the cross. Aware that the cross was coming, He rode into Jerusalem, humble, facing a cheering crowd, He knew also that they would turn on Him. They wanted one thing, He gave them another. It wasn’t for lack of their having been informed. The prophets had spoken of all of these things, but because of their unbelief, as Jesus said in Luke, “But now they have been hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42).
So, what will you be celebrating this year? What grand entrance into a new adventure, phase, level, or accomplishment will you make? If it moves you onward and upward, enjoy it. If—and when—you do, remember that ultimate praise goes to the One Who could have stayed on His throne, but chose to be a misunderstood King, cheered prematurely, jeered unfairly and crucified mercilessly, for you.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” —HEBREWS 12:2