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Triumph and Controversy

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Nineteen hundred and sixty seven years ago a young carpenter stood upon a hill overlooking Jerusalem and wept. He lamented that Jerusalem, represented by the seat of the religious hierarchy had made the decision to reject the teaching He brought down from heaven. He knew that this would be the final journey for his earthly body, yet he steadfastly mounted the colt his disciples had borrowed for him. The people of the city had heard he was nigh and they turned out along the road to see Him. His disciples went before him praising God and the people who lined the road had cut palm branches to spread before Him, some removed their cloaks to lay before him as well. The people were singing and shouting “Hosanna to the highest” and the noise caused the pharisees and chief priests to become incensed over the commotion. “Teacher” they said “command your followers to be quiet, because this may lead to an insurrection.” Yeshua replied to them: “Most assuredly I say to you if I tell them to be silent, the very rocks along the road would cry out.” Thus the controversy that had been brewing since Jesus began his ministry was laid bare on the road to Jerusalem. A mere three days later the carpenter turned rabbi would be arrested, tried in a kangaroo court and condemned to die by crucifixion.

Isiah 53:3 states: “He is despised and rejected of men.” Surely this is so because early on upon hearing of Jesus' coming from Nazareth, one of his followers exclaimed: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Already there was a prejudice against Him simply because of the place where He was raised. Hatred of a people because of their origin is bad enough, hatred of a people because of their belief is worse. We see the evidence of this in the middle eastern strife that continues to this day.

Jesus knew his earthly form would be destroyed in Jerusalem, but that was not why he wept. The people who had so eagerly welcomed Him into the city, turned against Him when Pontius Pilate tried in vain to release Him. As Pilate called for the bowl of water and stated he was washing his hands of the matter and that he would not be responsible for Jesus' blood, the people incited by the chief priests shouted: “Let his blood be upon us and our children.” How wonderful it is that our Lord, our king became the acceptable sacrifice to buy us back from sin and death. By His stripes we are healed. By His blood we are saved. The free gift of salvation costs us nothing, but cost Jesus a death on the cross. Let us remember and give thanks and praise.

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