The Dogwood Has Bloomed

The dogwood has bloomed. The tree sits on a corner along the street I  follow to get to my bank. Every year I anticipate the arrival of the flowers, waiting for the splash of white blossoms to stir my heart as I hurry down the thoroughfare.

Not only is the sight breathtaking, it reminds me of the season into which we are about to enter. The most important day in the earth’s history is about to be celebrated, the remembrance one that affects every person on the face of the planet.

Two thousand years ago, God had sent his son to earth. After thirty-three years here, Jesus was about to fulfill his destiny. He traveled much of Jerusalem with his band of followers, teaching people about the kingdom of heaven, healing their diseases, restoring their loved ones. He’d made enemies and gathered many friends.

The Sanhedrin feared him because he spoke against the false teachings for which they were known. He threatened to upset the delicate balance the Jews maintained in the presence of the Roman occupation. They looked for opportunities to remove him.

He knew their hearts. He understood their thoughts. He sensed them watching him. He ate with publicans and sinners. He healed on the Sabbath. They were waiting to accuse him when the time was right.

Passover was coming. Jesus would enter Jerusalem to celebrate with his disciples. No one but him can know this would be the last time he would enter the city. His enemies waited. They plotted. They watched. Soon they would act. God’s plan was about to be fulfilled.

Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” In the violent acts that would follow, everyone would gain access to eternal life. The innocent would be slain, the guilty redeemed, the key to heaven placed within everyone’s grasp. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it would be only a matter of time.

 

This is the first installment in a three-part series leading up to the celebration of Easter.

 

Renewal Awaits Us

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Not often do both Palm Sunday and the first day of spring arrive together, but this year they do. Both events represent renewal in God’s scheme of things.

Spring brings rebirth of the earth. Flowers awake from their slumber. Birds build nests for their young. Trees bud out, grass grows, the sun fills the sky more and more often. Rejuvenation is all around us as a sleeping world comes back to life.

Palm Sunday represents reawakening as well. God’s perfect plan would fall into place, the main players ready to act to redeem a world full of sin. One man would die, and thousands more would be transformed.

Rereading the biblical account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11: 1-19), I had to remind myself Jesus knew entering Jerusalem would be the end of his life here. To fulfill the scriptures and finish what he had come to do, he would be crucified. I can only imagine the thoughts going through his mind when he sent the disciples to fetch the young donkey colt waiting for him. Only kings rode animals into town. Just that act alone would raise the suspicions of the Pharisees and Sadducees toward him.

He had to know what conflict would arise when he entered the Temple and overturned tables, sending moneychangers scurrying for cover. He forbid anyone to carry wares through the building. “It is written,” he said, “that my house shall be called a house of prayer to all nations. You have made it a den of thieves.” Now the Sanhedrin plotted to destroy him.

All of the events led to God’s most sacrificial act—the death of his son on the Cross. We who believe have life eternal, all of us forgiven for our sinful natures because of Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary.

As you celebrate the coming of Spring this Sunday, and as you spend time in worship remembering the beginning of the events that led up to Christ’s resurrection on Easter, consider the meaning of renewal in your life. Let God’s miraculous act change you. For you He died.

Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”