The Sunday Lesson
On most Sundays, I publish the Sunday Lesson. It’s not a sermon or a study but is a short observation or an application from something I’m reading. I feel blessed and deeply responsible for writing this. I schedule the posts to publish at 1:35 on Sundays after you’re home from church. I’ll banter with all comments, so type away. Be forewarned that I reserve Sundays for my family. It’s a work in progress, but a goal we’re all growing into. So, if I don’t respond, I’m probably playing chess with my daughter or watching lousy TV with my wife. On an outstanding day, I might catch a couple innings of Braves baseball. With my wife, of course. It’s Sunday.
The precursor to Jerusalem
The crowds were wild. As history often turns, many of these revelers would change their mind by week’s end and shout, “Crucify Him!” instead of refrains of “Hosanna!” heard now. Time time was right, though, and the Messiah turned His face to Jerusalem, the City of God. Glory and wonder and plenty arrived. Surely He would collect an army and plunder nations in all corners of the earth. Surely He would reign as king and wield power with an uncontested righteous scepter. Surely He would drape women in opals and bless their wombs. The entire world, from Rome to Babylon to Egypt, would come under the rule of the G of Moses. The crowds shouted and clapped, throwing cloaks in the dirt to make a path for His laughing parade.
Synagogue and temple leaders – looking for the Messiah, too – shouted at him. “Teacher!” they yelled. “Shut these people up! Quiet them down!”
The Messiah surveyed the crowd and laughed. “If I tell them to be quiet now, the rocks and sand themselves will rise and start shouting.” Staring the leaders down now, He laughed again. “You quiet down!” The crowds jeered and clapped.
Joy filled the crowd as if drunk. What everyone waited for was coming true. It was time. The time they waited millenniums for.
But no one got what they wanted.
It’s rarely the way we want it
It seems to be the way with G. We pray and hope and read and pound the podium, THUS SAITH THE WORD OF GOD! IT SHALL COME TO PASS! Then, our sister dies of COVID, or we get a letter from our mortgage company granting us ten days before they take action. In my wife’s case, she received a phone call, and six hours later, in the waiting room, the surgeon tells her that the first step in her husband’s recovery is to stay alive for 48 hours. For me, I drive my wife to the hospital for cancer surgery. When she’s done, I meet with an upbeat surgeon.
“It went great,” he says. “Better than expected.” I exhale a heavy sigh.
“But…looking at these scans?” he says, shaking his head, not so upbeat now. “I’m not sure we got it all.”
The Father has a plan and a time. Neither correlates with your plans or your timing. We should know this. G told Abraham that Sarah would have a child. Abraham and Sarah had a plan, too, and were tired of waiting for the promise. Moses climbed a mountain to meet G and met a bush instead. Jerusalem cheered the coming Messiah, knowing that wealth and food and honor were coming with Him as if carried on a leash. Except that it didn’t. Even today, with COVID, I hear Christians, good friends whom I love and respect, say, “We’re not worried! G takes care of His own!” Yet every day, Christian people get sick, die of COVID, and are hit by cars while riding bicycles.
The Take-Home Message
I did medical research once, and we joked about human beings as little more than bags of wet proteins. No offense to proteins! Who are we to know what G wants, or what G will do? Who are we to know G’s plans or His timing? That the Son of Man deigned to visit humankind clothed as a human baby to bring us Good News should be enough.
By way of explanation, I label myself as an agnostic Christian. I attend a Southern Baptist church and am comfortable with Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology and all kinds of Protestant thought. For Bibles, I generally use the Jerusalem Bible, the English Standard Version, and the Amplified Bible. A favorite verse is Micah 6:8 where the prophet says:
G has already told you what is right and what to do: do what is right, love loyalty, and walk humbly with G.