Yesterday was Palm Sunday, no surprise to anyone remotely connected to the church calendar. At church we re-enacted the entrance into Jerusalem. We even had a donkey, even if it was on wheels!
The whole point was to raise the big question that Palm Sunday poses. The cross and the resurrection may be the most decisive events in history, but I think Palm Sunday poses the biggest question. Why? Well because your response to cross and the resurrection will depend upon how you answer the question.
The question is in truth rather simple: Who do you believe Jesus to be?
If you believe Jesus to be just another great philosophical teacher who told stories laced with home spun wisdom to make life more bearable, then you will probably look to next weekend as an inconvenience, because the bigger shops will be closed on Sunday, or an opportunity to start the summer jobs that you promised you would do once the weather improved. Eternal destinies and questions of faith will simply pass you by.
However, if you are willing to take seriously what Jesus actually said, and if your are willing to go beyond the sanitised and sterile portrayal of him in many a media offering, and sometimes the church too, then you might just begin to see a different picture and discover a truth that will change everything forever.
You might begin to see a picture of God who loves you so much that he was willing to sacrifice even himself to win your love. Isn't that an amazing idea? That the God who made the universe would actually submit himself to die on your behalf. It might seem incredible, even unbelievable or incomprehensible, but that is exactly what the Bible said happened.
Jesus, through his death and resurrection, does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He makes atonement for our sin, our faults and failings, all those things that serve to separate us from the God who loves us, who misses us. He offers us the opportunity to reconnect with God through his self-sacrifice.
If this is who you believe Jesus to be, then next weekend is a time for great celebration.
If you're still thinking, then maybe you would like to use next weekend to explore the possibilities. It might just help you answer Palm Sunday's big question.