He road into town on a wave of nationalistic populism. The masses believed he would bring changes and literally free them from the oppressive establishment and government over them. And, he himself planned to do just that!
But, the odds were against him along with the establishment and authorities. Within days the fervent wave of populism waned and the people were distracted by all the arguments and debates surrounding the one who had once ridden into town as a conquering hero. Neither the establishment nor the governing authorities could be overthrown because they were so entrenched. The man spoke the truth, and they crucified him because they hated him and the truth.
His story is not past, but is everlasting and eternal.
What news compares with the news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection? Russia? Syria? North Korea? Trump? Like the poor, we will always have the blah, blah, blah of news cycles. Nevertheless, this week of all weeks in the year we can especially celebrate the Good News that Jesus died to pay for the sins of the whole world, that He was buried, and that He rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures.
I’ve been there. I’ve seen Golgotha, at least the hill historians and archeologists believe was the place outside of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. I entered the garden tomb. I walked through the Garden of Gethsemane and touched 2,000-year old olive trees. I walked through the cobbled streets of old Jerusalem. Places and things I had only read about became real before my eyes.
One of the things that has amazed me the most from the time I was a little boy is how little credence professing believers give to His story. As an eight-year old I asked my Sunday School teacher whether all of this were true. He was nearly speechless! In college learned professors ridiculed the Bible and faith of any kind. Surely if His story were true these men and women of learning would know?
I searched and researched because I had concluded that if His story, as incredible as it sounds, were true, then it was the most important truth, the only truth that really mattered day in and day out. No other news, scientific discovery, or discovery of life itself somewhere else held a candle to His story.
We all have stories. At the end of Job’s story Job says, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore, I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.”
Like Job, we’ve all heard His story, but few among us, even among the masses of professing believers across the Bible Belt have “seen” Him in a personal encounter that has literally and spiritually rocked our world and shaken us to the core. Not all initial encounters come with thunder, lightning, or earthquakes. But, God always faithfully rocks believers’ worlds as we mature because He is the Almighty Creator.
God is wrapping up this leg of His story. The end of this leg promises to shake the whole earth and end the futility of life as we have known it from the beginning. Hallelujah and Maranatha!
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. He can be reached at [email protected]