Holy Week brings into focus a number of Big Questions. Among the most searching is this: What do we want?
In particular, what do we want from God? From life?
The Gospel according to Mark opens the Jesus story with a shocking surprise.
“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way’—
‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.”’
“And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…. And this was his message: ‘After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’”
The good news about Yeshua (“God saves”) Mashiah (“the Anointed One”), the Son of God, is supposed to be about Israel being rescued by the power of God from her enemies. It is supposed to be about Israel being restored to her ancient glory. It is supposed to be about Israel’s violent vindication, about Rome going down and a new King David taking the throne.
That’s what the excitement of the first Palm Sunday was all about: Jesus entering Jerusalem to make good on all those promises foretold by the great prophets, chief among them the very Isaiah that Mark quotes.
And yet: What a shocking surprise.
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