passion week.

this is a somber week for me. last year, i went to israel with a group of students from ouachita on a biblical studies/life of christ tour. (see pictures!) it was really eye opening; i came face to face with the person Jesus.. who sweat, walked until his feet hurt, laid stone upon stone for roads and buildings in sepphoris, who wept--really wept--at the state of the people for whom he came to lay down his life. it was mind boggling, and there are times during the christian calendar that hit me hard than others.

easter is apparently going to be one of those.

the thing that is so crazy is that we are just as bad as the israelites. we praised him with them on palm sunday, but when it starts looking bleak we back away. we want him to do things our way. one of the images often used at this time is of him riding in on a mule. a lot of people are mistaken: this is not an act of humility. when kings rode mules into cities, it was because they were coming in peace. the israelite claimed they wanted peace (in the form of the ending of the roman occupation), but they wanted it on their own terms. Jesus came to brig peace, but not peace by way of violence... that was what israel wanted to see. a political messiah.

we want that too.. we think that Jesus is pro-life, pro- or anti-war, pro-whatever-we-support. he is not. he came to save us. yes, he cares about the things we care about as well, but his purpose is not making america christian-ruled. his purpose is saving us from sin--saving us from ourselves.

"Jesus is alright!", i hear, but often we mean something more like "Jesus is alright as long as he's doing what i wanted him to do". we forget that he is awesome and his soveriegnty has nothing to do with our prosperity or our success. the christians of the world are jobless, sick, hungry, and dying. but Jesus is no less powerful... and our sickness and poverty has nothing to do with how much he loves us.

he died.

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