I am sure there were more than a few members of the crowd in Jerusalem on that terrible day on Calvary, who thought Jesus got just what he deserved. That he received a punishment that fit his crime – speaking the Truth: For this he received death, death on a cross – the most hideously cruel form of punishment in the Roman arsenal of cruelty.
We now know that Jesus was truly an innocent man; a man who died, so that we all may have life, - life abundantly - in the love of God. A God who’s love was so strong that - He gave His only Son up to that cruel death, so we, who believe in Him, - may have eternal life.
If Jesus ‘got what he deserved’, just what is it that we, children of a loving God, deserve?
- Do God’s children deserve lives of suffering and cruelty?
- Do God’s children deserve lives of poverty, filled with despair, lives without hope or joy?
- Do God’s children deserve lives lacking in dignity and respect?
- Do God’s children deserve lives - lived in fear – oppressed by the strong, - the clever, - the deceitful – those who plot against us – robbing us of our peace, our dignity and our freedom?
Do we not deserve lives that offer more? For what He gave us, - did not Jesus deserve better than what he received?
Or do we deserve what others think we deserve in life?
If I were to ask today what each of us thinks we deserve in life - we would answer that we deserve:
- kindness and respect,
- dignity and hope,
- justice and mercy:
- Forgiveness, - peace and love.
Each of us would want to be loved perfectly, in the way that we desire and need to be loved, - in God’s perfect love.
- None of us would choose to be brought up in poverty.
- None of us would choose to suffer from mental illness.
- None of us would choose to bear the cruelty and oppression of others.
- None of us would choose to endure physical or mental abuse.
- None of us would choose to be victims of addiction.
- None of us would choose to be different from others:
To suffer taunts and insults designed to make us feel less than human; separating us from the community of man.
We all want lives that share in the love and bounty of God. We want to live - lives free from strife, - lives filled with hope. Lives delivered from suffering, pain and oppression - lives overflowing in kindness, peace and love
Today, as we celebrate Palm Sunday: our Lord’s entry into the holy city, Jerusalem. Let us reflect on our lives and how we love one another, and wish for others what we ourselves desire – the perfect love of God.
Let us remember that the love we seek is found in the love we give.
And let us remember how easily the crowd was swayed from celebrating our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem - to their vilifying, jeering, taunting, and cruelly treating Him for bringing the Truth of God’s love to His people.
Let us keep in mind the lives we would chose for ourselves; remembering the good things we seek as beloved children of God: dignity, respect, hope, mercy, forgiveness, peace and – love – and that all others seek and deserve these too.
Let the suffering and death of Jesus, - not have been in vain. When we next are tempted to say - that someone got what they deserved: Remember the same was said of Jesus – truly an innocent man, - whose cruel execution - was a sacrifice for our sins – which bought us freedom from death and corruption - to eternal life in the love of God – something we continually receive, - but do not deserve. ~Amen
Deacon Don Ron