Posted in 2022 Lent Devotions

The real celebration

“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotion for April 10, 2022. Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

For this last week of devotions, I’m going to think about what happened each day of holy week and what it might have been like to be there with Jesus.

And [two of the disciples] brought [the colt] to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” (Luke 23:35-39)

What an exciting day! It’s Sunday, and the crowd hails Jesus as the conquering hero and their next king. Hundreds of years ago Solomon had ridden into the city in the same way, to assume the throne of his father David. Unfortunately, the celebration is premature. You can watch plenty of running and cycling races where the front runner relaxes as he or she nears the finish line, only to be passed by another who wins the race. This is not Jesus’ ticker-tape parade. By the end of the week, the powers of darkness will appear to have won. Jesus’ victory is still a week away.

I wonder if I would have been among those rejoicing and praising God. Or would I be one of those telling the disciples to keep it down? If there is loud music coming from down the street, do you crash the party or call the police to complain about the noise.

About half a year ago, a crew of roofers from Mexico was finishing the roof on a new house on our street. For most of the day, we could hear their music, and it made me want to stretch out on a lawn chair with a cool drink and pretend I was on a cruise. About a month ago, the family across the street must have been testing out some big speakers, blaring some kind of Eastern European music from the garage. They were outside dancing, while I wondered how long this song would last.

While Jesus is truly worthy of all honor and praise, I think he likes cheering us on. “Be bold and courageous!” “Don’t be afraid.” “You can do it!” (“Nothing will be impossible for you.) “Well done!”

There is a lot of joy in heaven when someone turns to Christ in faith. The shepherd who found his sheep, the woman who found her coin, and the father who welcomed his son home had to celebrate (Luke 15). That’s the real celebration!

Thanks for all the encouragement, Lord.

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