Spring is in the air! The snow is gone, the temperatures are rising, the sun is shining brightly, and the flowers and trees are blooming. Nature’s cycle of life is at work!
It’s that time of year where you seem to get that little extra pep in your step, especially after the experiences of the past year. Families get together, kids go on Easter egg hunts, and tasty baskets of candy are exchanged. Spring brings celebration of life and rejuvenation. Now, while all of that is wonderful and encouraging, the most important aspect of spring is that it ushers in God’s ultimate plan for mankind’s redemption.
Last week, we celebrated Jesus’s joyous and triumphant entrance into Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago, when the Jews waved their palm branches and shouted out “Hosanna!”.
12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
The King of Israel!”
Oh, they were so exhilarated because their king was strolling into town. You see, they envisioned their Messiah reestablishing the Davidic Kingdom right then and there and delivering them from the tyrannical rule of Rome. To their ultimate dismay, however, that was never His plan.
Like most things, God’s plans are not our plans.
Isaiah 55: 8-9
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Most, if not all of us, would love to see God work in certain ways or do certain things. Reflecting back on your life choices, could you imagine if God did everything “your way” along that journey? All I can say is thank God He knows best! This is exactly what transpired at Passover when Jesus rode into town. The Jews had their plan, but God had a completely different one and because of that, the world was changed forever.
Rome was the great power of the day and the very same Jews who were cheering and calling on His name were now pleading with the governor of Rome to kill Him! You know the story:
6 Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion. 8 Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them. 12 Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!” 14 Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
A week after his celebratory entry, Jesus was arrested, beaten unimaginably, and sentenced to an excruciating death by crucifixion for all the people to see. The Jews plan for redemption was not God’s. He became that ultimate sacrifice, paid the price of sin that nobody else could pay, and defeated the grip of death so that everyone of us could have the opportunity of eternal life! Now that’s one amazing plan! Would we have thought of this? No way! And that’s why He’s God and we are not!
So, as we approach Easter weekend, let us remember what Jesus went through because of His unfailing and unconditional love for us. As we are deeply saddened by what He experienced on Friday, let us cry out and rejoice that His tomb was empty on Sunday!
1Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.
Now aren’t you glad that God’s plans aren’t your own?!
Happy Resurrection Day!