Palm Sunday: “Peace”
April 5th, 2020 – John 12:15
Brothers and Sisters who share the same Heavenly Father, because of our Father and our Lord Jesus, may you always get what you do not deserve, never get what you do, and may you have peace in your hearts from God, Amen.
There is a good chance you are an addict – and might not even know it. There is a good chance you have an emotional addiction. This addiction forms through watching news, movies, reading books, listening and telling stories, and many other ways. It is an addiction that forms by an unhealthy drive to go back to the same types of sources for another emotional “hit” that you received the last time. The first time you heard about the coronavirus and actually had a feeling that this could be real and had fear run through your body? That was your first hit. Even if your reaction to all the government measures was anger or even rage, that was still an emotional hit that you likely have since gone back to try and get again.
Emotions can spread from person-to-person faster than a virus can. Emotions are highly contagious. Fear is an example of a highly contagious emotion. When someone is truly afraid in the presence of another and expresses their fear, that fear tends to quickly spread.
Selfishness and Impatience
The emotion of fear courses through a person’s body causes a fight or flight response in the person. It causes stress hormones to spike and the capabilities of a person’s immune system (to fight off a virus) to worsen. Fear of the virus can make you more susceptible to being negatively affected by it – or so I’m told.
When you have ‘fear’ coursing through you causing a fight or flight response in your body there are certain actions that often accompany that response. You are likely to become selfish and impatient.
How many people in the Walmart lineups who are getting yelled at or treated like criminals by the people around them do you see letting others in ahead of them or making friendly casual conversation? Or how many people do you see being blissfully happy despite the long lineups? When you enter a store and are questioned about your recent travel habits or any symptoms you might have does the intensity with which you are asked (as if you could be hurting the person asking) causing you to have a pleasant experience? When people are afraid, they can come across as hard and rude because they are likely not thinking about others but thinking about themselves and fearful of anybody else.
How many of you are thinking more about protecting yourself from getting the virus from others than protecting others from the virus you could be carrying?
Humble and Patient, Jesus
Let me tell you about someone who was like us in a similar situation. This was someone who, like us, had to live in an environment filled with contagious fear. This was someone, like us, who was living with the threat of death lingering over their head. This was someone who was living among people who acted selfishly and were agitated and impatient. They lived with fear and with others who were afraid. This guy was afraid but still humble and patient in spite of it.
Jesus was that person during His time here on earth. Jesus did not become selfish in His fear, or He would have never gone to the cross to atone for our sins.
He did not force the glory He deserved from others. Instead, as our Palm Sunday reading shows, He rode into Jerusalem on an unimpressive donkey.
Jesus did not ride into town on a beautiful, magnificent, war horse fit for a king. He did not come into town with a massive well-trained army guarding Him against the fearful people around Him. He did not come in demonstrating His Godly power by controlling the wind or a storm. He could have come in like Elsa (from Frozen) creating a world of snow and ice around Him in the middle of the desert.
Instead of doing all the magnificent self-centred things, He could have done as He entered into the Holy city of Jerusalem, He came in humbly. He came in not focusing or thinking about Himself and trying to attain the glory He deserved. He came into town patiently in the face of His impending “virus infection” death sentence (so to speak).
There is great irony here.
The King and Creator of the world should have been accepted and treasured; instead of crucified and executed as a criminal.
We, as forgiven saints free from sin, should never taste the effect of sin anymore – which is death. Yet, we suffer and die.
We suffer the same irony as our King and the Creator – yet we share in His victory too.
Christ knows our situation. He knows our fears. He knows the impulse to be selfish and impatient when danger surrounds us.
Yet, our God was humble. Jesus counted others as more important than Himself (Phil. 2). Christ was patient and was sent into the world at the right time and died for us ungodly (Rom. 5:6). He died once so we will rise again. He died so in our fear we are not overwhelmed. He died so that in our fear we can have emotions that overcome that fear. He died, and rose again so that we can have happiness in knowing our God loves us. We can have peace knowing that we are right with God. We can have hope that our life will continue with Him forever beyond death.
You do not need to fear death. You will die. That day will come much sooner than you are ready for. But, you are Christ’s and you will rise again.
May the contagious emotions of peace and calm from Jesus spread through you as you have calm and peace in the face of this fear and share that peace and calm with others. In Jesus Name, Amen.