A Tale Of Two Journeys
5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: 6 He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. 7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. 8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross. 9 For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. 10 And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, 11 and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This Sunday is called Palm Sunday or Sunday of the Passion.
As I look at the Bible readings for this Sunday, I see Jesus making several journeys.
The first journey I see is Jesus riding a donkey toward Jerusalem. The crowds are shouting, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The crowds are laying down their robes and waving palms.
The second journey I see is the one Jesus takes to his death on the cross. One of the assigned Bible readings for this Sunday comes from Luke 22 and 23. It takes Jesus from the last supper to the Garden of Gethsemane, to his betrayal by Judas, to his crucifixion to his burial in the tomb. This is the journey of Holy Week.
I see another journey in the above Bible passage. This journey is one of humility. Though Jesus is God, he becomes a servant. Philippians 2:8 reads, “He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross.”
Jesus chooses the journey of service, obedience, and humility.
It is a contrast to the journey many of us chooses.
In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, there is a story of people who want to build a tower up to the heavens, “so we can make a name for ourselves!” The result is God causes confusion in the languages so they can not communicate with one another. The Tower of Babel, as it comes to be called, is not completed.
Again, in Genesis, there is the account of Adam and Eve and what has come to be called, “The Fall”. Adam and Eve are tempted with the lie “they would become like God”.
Palm Sunday is a day of two basic journeys.
One journey follows our self-centered desire to “make a name for ourselves” and to “be like God”. This journey leads away from God.
There is another journey. This is the journey Christ took on our behalf. He chose the way of service, obedience, and humility. Ultimately it cost him his life on the cross. But because of his service, God lifted him up.
Christ calls you and me to follow him on that journey of service, obedience, and humility. It is the journey of true life and value.
What journey will you follow?
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California