Have you ever walked into a place you didn’t want to? Late to an important meeting. Needing to have an uncomfortable conversation. Having to see someone you just don’t get a long with. These are life’s seemingly unavoidable situations. No matter how long we wait or how hard we try, they just seem to keep coming up.
I remember one such occasion in my life. An important and influential member of not just my life but my community had wronged me. Not just me really, but many, many people under his care. He had betrayed their trust and taken advantage of their faith in him, and now came the unenviable task of confronting him and forcing him to get the help he needed. In the days leading up to the conversation, all I could feel was the anxiety of what it would feel like to walk into that room. To sit down and stare him in the eye. To say the words I knew he needed to hear, but I did not know if I had the strength to say. Let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep.
When the day actually came, it did not disappoint. Nervousness consumed me. The moments seemed surreal. I don’t actually remember most of the conversation – just the uncontrollable shaking of legs, and the sweaty mess that were my palms. I barely said a word, but it proved to be crucial that I was there that day. It was one of the most uncomfortable of my life – and one I am immensely proud of. Overcoming my fears and anxieties to see a wrong become a right – and I helped.
This is why I am so in love with Jesus. I cannot imagine the feeling of entering Jerusalem this ‘Palm Sunday’ on a tiny donkey as the people cry out in expectant joy. The palm branches and their cloaks lay down for him like a royal carpet, the smiles on their faces, the buzz that filled the air. For them this was a party. A parade. An exciting experience. They had waited so long for Him to come – and now here He was.
Finally. The King entering the royal city, come to bring back His bride, the nation of Israel, back to a place and position of prominence. It was a celebration of the culmination of the promises of God to his people long, long ago.
But not for Him.
For Him it feels like adding insult to injury. Hearing their praises, and knowing they would turn to protests. Feeling their love, and knowing it would lead to His languish. For just a few days from now, on these streets where they welcomed Him as Savior, He will carry a cross and be spat on by the same. He will feel the betrayal of a friend. He will answer for a crime He did not commit. He will suffer a death He could never deserve. And He carried the weight of it all, alone.
No one else knows, this fateful morning, what awaits Him just a few days from now – and still – my Jesus, my Savior – puts aside His anxiousness and angst, saddles up His donkey and rides into the city that five days from now He will look down on as He breathes His last. The cross of a common criminal, for the most uncommon man who ever lived.
This is not a place He wants to be, it is where He has to be. This is not what He deserves, it is what He must do. This is not something He couldn’t avoid, it is a choice He is making for us. To right all wrongs. To restore peace. To save our very souls.
Today, we remember the day Jesus walks into a place He did not want to be – all because He is choosing you and me.