As the final week of Jesus continues, we find Jesus frustrated with more than just a case of the Mondays. This special Monday he enters the temple where it was reduced from being God's House of Worship to a first century Holy Land Mini Mall.
Of course in my Back Pew way of looking at things I have imagined and illustrated a few of these temple violators. There were The Temple ..
All these and more turned the temple into as Jesus called it "a true den of thieves". So I guess frustrated was a true understatement as I will call Jesus state of mind The Temper in the Temple.
After turning over a few tables Jesus left the temple not in the mood for encountering a 'fig-free-fig-tree' which he promptly cursed. This was a lesson NOT LOST on his disciples.
It is not fair to assume the mind of Christ, but from my human perspective I imagine Jesus did feel the elation of his triumphant entry that first Palm Sunday.
Then Jesus frustration of this broken world where on Monday the Temple was shameful, and the fig tree bore no fruit.
Simple emotions for someone like me but deeper and more complex for our Savior as his foretold arrest and crucifixion were only days away.
While my cartoons are a smirky look at very real biblical events my prayer is we remember the Holy Week. Remember and honor the amazing truth of salvation realized between that first Palm Sunday and that first Easter morning.
Of course today the Grand-Marshal of any parade would be seen riding in maybe a CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE or some other equally impressive auto. But 2000 years ago the sweet ride of choice for any proper triumphant entry fit for a king was a.. DONKEY. Go figure!
So Jesus sends of a couple disciples to pick up this fine ride with the words... "The Master has need of it."
AND THE CROWD GOES WILD..
And so the triumphant entry begins, the crowds cheer as Jesus begins his procession down the palm branch laden roads of Jeruselum. Even some tourists from up North could be heard declaring Jesus king in their own special way.. doncha-know.
Side Point: It is a sobering irony to realize the crowds this first Palm Sunday shouting HOSANNA, were screaming CRUCIFY HIM!.. just 5 days later.
While most of the crowd this first Palm Sunday were celebrating Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem the Religous leaders in attendance were miffed. I would call them the Palm Sunday Pouters.
The were mostly of these crowds honoring Jesus and most likely jealous of Jesus sweet ride.
The Donkey Speaks..
Also caught up in the celebratory crowd was the Donkey Jesus rode who foolishly thought the crowds were cheering him!
BUT just a couple days later this same donkey was over his embarrassment and back at his stable could be found bragging and signing autographs with the other barnyard folk.
Another Donkey's regrets..
And let me not forget to tell you about the donkey who turned down the chance to be that Palm Sunday donkey because it the time coincided with his Sunday afternoon nap.
He later lamented in high drama ‘On the Stable Front’ a life wasted as a bum when he could have A CONTENDER!
I pray God finds you blessed this Palm Sunday and that we all slow down to appreciate the significance of this entire Holy Week.
From this triumphant entry, through the pain and sadness of Jesus crucified, and ultimately the unspeakable joy of our Risen Lord. This was all part of God's perfect plan for a fallen world that needs a Savior.
Remember if you don't shout Hosanna, the Rocks may just do it for you.
Persecution for my faith? I think the closest thing I encounter to persecution for my faith is going to church on a miserable cold MinneFROZEta Sunday morning while 'Old Man Winter' mocks me for leaving my warm home to worship with the frozen faithful.
Or maybe the fact that I am a Green Bay Packer fan living in the state of Minnesota Viking fans. Besides that.. persecution is a little on the light side in my life.
Persecution 2000 years ago looked much different. After the first Christian movement begins at Pentecost in Acts 2 the church grows. In response the religious establishment of the day is outraged and fights them for the next 26 chapters of Acts.
This first century church perseveres through REAL PERSECUTIONS that make 'Minnesota Winter Windchill' feel like a warm summer breeze.
Now fast forward to today .. I am sitting in my warm home in a country that has allowed me freedom to worship. While the outside temperature may go below zero in the Minnesota winter months I have my gas fireplace warming me as I type.
But.. is Persecution on the rise? I do see a fast moving trend in the news that alarms me where traditional Christian values are under attack.
Recently Jo Behar from the TV show 'The View' called Vice President Mike Pence mentally ill because he prays to Jesus for direction for our country.
Pro-life, traditional marriage stances are demonized as political hate speech by the ever growing 'progressive' profane, vulgar lifestyles of the 'rich and shameless' .
The body of Christ should be unwavering and unapologetic of the gospel message. If we really believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Jesus. Jo 14:6, then shame on us as believers when we are silent.
Our words and actions should be the evidence we are living out God's two greatest commandments. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and care for others in need and love them as ourselves.
May God find us all faithful and full of His Love, and in all things we do. I pray God's people do not live to please man but instead to honor God.
To God be the Glory!
Jeff (persecuted by Viking fans) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson