This past weekend, my 4th and 5th graders and I learned about Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey; better known to some as the triumphal entry. The crowds cheered as He approached the city. They had heard of Him but most people had not yet seen Him. They were prepared to be blown away by the royal procession of this warrior King who they expected to be much like His ancestor David. This Warrior would fight for them and give them victory over their oppressors. He was the Messiah whom they had long awaited and He was here!!!
Were they disappointed when they saw their King; whose royal procession consisted entirely of a humble donkey and his followers on foot? Did they have second thoughts when He was not built like a solider and when He did not wear garments fit for a King? He was rumored to have done miracles; so hopefully He could do just one more and out smart Caesar and his legions. As we look back, we know Jesus had a different agenda. This agenda was not to save Israel from Roman rule but to save all humanity from their sins and death. He would restore the relationship between God the Father and His beloved creation.
As a learning technique I often tell my kids to picture themselves within a story. It is interesting, that as humans we usually pick the “good characters” within a story as the roles in which we most relate. However, this story poses a problem to that instinct because all characters, including Jesus’ dearest friends, are unfaithful and tainted with sin. The truth is we are all sinners. So we fit in this story quite well.
Your personality might find it difficult to imagine; after all imagination is not “real” so maybe it should be reserved for children. Well, if that is the case I would propose that we aren’t as grown up as we might have thought. Our imaginations are working overtime trying to convince ourselves that we aren’t “that bad”; when in reality all have sinned and sin = death. If you have never sinned then you do not need forgiveness. If you are the “good character” in the story then you are forfeiting precious forgiveness that is freely offered. Yet if you are the “bad character”, or a sinner, then realizing your personal offences against God (sin) makes the forgiveness that much sweeter. This realization has helped me embrace my real character and trade it in quickly for forgiveness.
I pray that by His gracious mercy He will cultivate in us hearts of true repentance so we might truly see Him for who He is and receive the forgiveness that is ours to take. And when He does cultivate our hearts, may He receive all the glory He deserves. Happy Easter everyone!!