“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” : Jim Elliot
Having just celebrated Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus victorious entry into Jerusalem, I couldn’t help noting the irony of it being April 1, the day of fools. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus entry into Jerusalem to the tune of songs and chants of praise, coats laid on the ground before Him and palm fronds waving. April 1st is now a day of derision commemorating those folks that refused change, that being the move of the start of the new year to January 1st.
Funny how history goes. In the US, four years ago, the chants of praise, hope and change, restoration of glory followed a candidate around the country. Promises, promises and more promises preceded the crowning of the savior, the messiah for the US. That “savior”, was ushered in to take control of the most powerful country in the world. Joyful anticipation of the new, recovered and glorified nation they envisioned was enjoyed by many. Though he has brought the country to the brink of collapse and martial law, he may even, now, get re-elected. Little, then, did they know the price it would cost. Fools….
A little over 2000 years ago a nation was under the tyrannical thumb of Rome. Their scriptures foretold of a savior, a Messiah, come from God. When Jesus arrived on the scene he performed miracles, ridiculed, and confounded the religious leaders, was incredibly wise and always gave them something when He was around, feeding them and blessing them. Clearly, this is the One foretold by the prophets, the One to set the captives free, to bring liberty, to feed us and provide for us. They announced His arrival with cheers and song, throwing their coats on the ground in front of Him, waving palm fronds and announcing His arrival. But within a week those fronds would become swords, loving touches would become lashes tearing at His flesh, words of praise would become scorn, derision and mockery, He would be abandoned by all to be killed mercilessly.
So, what went wrong, how could the deliverer be delivered to die? Then, as now, the people only looked to their immediate desires. They had expectations that He would come in and deliver them from the Romans to give back the glory of Israel. To give them, to give them, to give them…..instead, He gave them just words. He talked about being humble, turning the other cheek, lose their riches and follow God and worse, that He was the Son of God and that they needed to follow Him. But where?
Obviously, He was going to no-wheres-ville. He wouldn’t even denounce the Romans. What good was this guy. He said he is the way, the truth, the life and only through Him could you get to God. Well, if that didn’t beat all, now the priests were going to lose their jobs. Okay, time to lose this guy, so they delivered Him up to the Romans to be killed and so fulfill the prophets and, without their knowledge, bring hope and change. In their selfishness, through Jesus the Christ’s death and resurrection we now have hope and deliverance.
These two parts of history describe fools. Are you one of them? Do you still seek your creature comforts, success, personal significance at the cost of your eternal life? You don’t have to be. You can admit to yourself that you are a sinner, admit to yourself that Jesus DID come into the world to set it free, admit to yourself that He loves you so much to have borne your sin on the cross and the only thing you have to do is take His gift to you and accept Him into your life as your Lord and Savior. It’s a small price to pay for an even greater reward. What you are holding on to is gone when you die, then what?
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. It’s April, are you being a fool…..