At our Fellowship supper last week, I told one of our new members at church that Lent was my favorite time of year. The lessons really drive home what it all means, and it’s just so powerful. I probably think every year is the best, but I’ve especially enjoyed this year’s sermon series by our pastor. The theme “Hands of the Passion” was shared by the Synod, but I know each pastor puts his own individual style into the sermons he gives.
Pastor Biebert has done an excellent job of conveying how Jesus lived a perfect, holy, sinless life and then peacefully, calmly, willingly sacrificed that life so that we might live forever in heaven despite our complete inability to live sinless lives ourselves. Jesus took on our burden of guilt. He was tempted like we are, bullied like we are, betrayed like we are. When he did lose his his temper, it was a righteous anger, but mostly he was a patient teacher and a loving example of how we should be to each other.
Today is Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus and his disciples rode into Jerusalem. At this point in his ministry, Jesus was well known, and he entered the town to loud acclaim. He was the king triumphant! People lined the streets shouting, “Hosanna!” Palm fronds were laid at his feet to line the path. But instead of riding in on a victorious stallion of war, he had his disciples find the unbroken colt of a donkey. Kings rode donkeys and colts in times of peace, not when they were riding into battle as the people thought Jesus surely must have been doing.
I’ve helped break a colt before – you don’t just take an untrained horse and hop up and expect a smooth ride. As Pastor said today, you especially don’t ride that untrained colt into a loud crowd of people. That’s exactly what Jesus did though. He used his immeasurable power to calm the colt. He proclaimed peace, and it happened. There is still peace through faith in him. I love this lesson. I love being reminded of it every year. The guilt weighs heavy on me sometimes. I don’t deserve the grace he gives me. But this is the most spectacular week of the year: we are reminded that Jesus lived for US. He died for US. So that we can live with him forever. It is the most beautiful thing in the whole world.