The Temporary Recognition of Christ

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The raising of Lazarus was an event which could hardly have passed unnoticed. The resurrection­­­­­­­ of a dead person, four whole days after their death, produced an enormous impression in Jerusalem and the surrounding area and there were many who believed in Jesus and wished to see Him at first hand. As soon as they were told that he was coming into the city, therefore, they lost no time in receiving Him with great enthusiasm.

The people, then, were extremely worked up over His arrival and recognized Him as their king. They lauded Him, as they usually did victorious persons and, though they might not have realized it at the time, they had before them Him Who was soon to defeat death. This triumphal entry, this recognition of the true King of Israel was such an important event that it had even been foretold by the Prophets in the Old Testament. The Lord of Israel, the Lord of the whole world, would enter His city in order to reign there. The thing was, however, that His throne and glory would have a completely different character from that which people expected: it would not be a throne of oppressive authority and domination but would be martyrdom, suffering and death in the most humiliating manner of the time: crucifixion.

But if we return to the image of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we see that the repercussions were so powerful that they seriously unsettled even those who held the reins of power at that period. High priests, scribes, Pharisees and all those who felt that Christ’s presence was a threat to their position and prestige were fully aware that the confrontation with Him was reaching its final stages. And so they wasted no time. They immediately set about devising their lawless plans. And it would seem that they did their job very well: in no more than a few days, the “Hosanna” of Sunday was transformed into “Away with him, away with him, crucify him”.

And how did He deal with all this? In the first place, the manner of His entry into Jerusalem once again revealed His humility and the way in which He has taught the faithful throughout the ages. He Who had all of the heavens for His throne, sat upon a humble donkey and came to surrender voluntarily to His persecutors. Besides, He knew full well that His message would not satisfy the expectations of the people, who were waiting for a worldly messiah, who would be politically and nationally sovereign. As the all-knowing God he was well aware that He would disappoint the crowds who were now singing His praises. And yet, He quietly proceeded on His way.

When we look at the unstable popular frame of mind, the ease with which people change their mind and their decisions, let us learn a lesson from it all. We at least should remain faithful to the recognition of Him as the King of our hearts. Let us heed His message and not be swept away by our facile and mundane instincts. Let us recognize that the way to the Resurrection and to eternity passes through the Passion, Golgotha and the Crucifixion and that what is required of us, is not a fleeting “Hosanna” but the enduring “may your kingdom come”.

by Metropolitan Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis

Source: Δημοκρατία newspaper, 27/4/2013

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