April 5th is Palm Sunday. The story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the story of Holy Week are found in the Gospels. Below, I’ve printed Philippians 2:5-11. It’s one of the lectionary readings this week and struck me as less well known and quite pertinent.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
So, our Lord, as a human(though without sin), knew what he was going to face during Holy Week. He was afraid, as we can tell through his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He truly had human feelings, yet had divinity. “His humanity begged to be delivered from what his divinity could see. Jesus, the carpenter, implored. Jesus, the man, peered into the dark pit and begged, “Can’t there be another way?(Jesus, by Max Lucado)”.
But there wasn’t and so he was obedient to the will of God. “The form of Jesus’ obedience is that of love. Jesus loves, and loves, and loves – even to the point of crucifixion and even then he loves, “Father, Forgive them”(Edward Pillar)” -a servant to the end – dying for the forgiveness of OUR sins. Hallelujah! The forgiveness of OUR sins. Amazing!
In these contemporary days, we want to follow Jesus’ life and reach out to others, but it is difficult for many to find a safe way to do this. Jesus told us that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world(John 16:33).
Lord God, help us to lean on Jesus’ teachings during this difficult time. Fill us with your almighty power to love. Thank you for all the human souls that are helping in this fight to make sick people well and prevent others from becoming ill. Let us ever follow Jesus’ example, humbling ourselves as we reach out to others in need. Lord, hear our prayers of nervousness and desperation during this time – our pleas to avoid illness and death are not unlike Jesus’ plea in the Garden of Gethsemane. Protect us, O Lord, during this time of global crisis, and be ever-closer to each one of us during this time of need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.