By: Dennis Bates
When Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Psalm Sunday, there were those who tried to get Jesus to scold his disciples for making so much noise. Jesus simply suggested that if he did, then the stones themselves would cry out. Why? Because this was just one of those occasions that was so huge and so important that you couldn’t keep it quiet. Somebody was going to shout about it, no matter who tried to suppress it.
Throughout time heroes have received welcomes from adoring fans. Soldiers returning from war even in ancient times returned to crowds cheering for them. Flower petals were thrown, medals were placed around their necks, and parties went on for days, sometimes weeks.
Who could forget the euhporia captured in the picture of a young soldier lifting a woman off her feet and kissing her jubilantly that made almost every front page after World War Two ended?
Every four years we inaugurate a new President and have elaborate ceremonies to signify the beginning of a new political era.
Baseball teams are welcomed home by throngs of people when they win the World Series, and the same goes for football and basketball teams. Just last night another college team won the NCAA Basketball Tournament estalishing itself as the best team in the country for the past season.
In short, we love to celebrate success, and we reward winners. It makes me wonder where our priorities really are sometimes. Athletes play games and are made into superstars who command salaries that could support many entire countries. The same goes for movie stars and big business CEO’s.
But do any of the accomplishments of these rich and famous politicians, athletes, actors or businessmen compare to the humbleness shown by the Son of God when he rode a lowly donkey into a city he knew would put him to death in less than a week, in spite of all the accolades? Think of it. The athletes, the polititicans, the actors and even the business men ride in luxury knowing that tonight they will party and next year they will make a lot more money, win another championship, or maybe an Acadamy Award. Even the ecstatic sailor in the famous picture knew he could relax, celebrate and get on with his life now that he was home and the war was over.
Jesus rode on a smelly barn animal knowing he was going to die within a week, and he did it willingly, not for himself, but for us. His name doesn’t appear in any record book. He got no medal hung around his neck, only thorns pressed to his head for a crime he didn’t commit. He didn’t pound his chest with his fist or hold up his hands in triumph; he stretched them out on a splintery piece of wood so nails could be pounded through them.
Nobody handed him a bottle of champagne to spray around the room dousing news reporters, but somebody did dip a sponge into vinegar and force it into his mouth when he said he was thirsty. And soldiers did take the only thing he owned, his robe, and gamble to see who got it. And yet, if the crowds hadn’t been there cheering for him and laying braches in front of him, Jesus said the rocks would have done it. What he did was so important, so powerful and so everlasting that inanimate objects would have recognized it.
I wonder. If all the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Football Hall of Fame, The Academy that gives the awards to the actors, the Businessman’s Hall of Fame, if every person who ever made a million dollars or more, if we took them all and put them in a parade and brought them down Broadway in the finest limosines that money could buy, would the rocks cry out for them if nobody else cheered. Would the rocks even notice?
They would have for Jesus.