And we’re off! (with some musing about Agape)

Today is Palm Sunday — the commemoration of the day the Gospels tell us that Jesus triumphantly entered the city of Jerusalem
(in the face of the temple officials looking for him, and not in a good way). 

It’s usually considered a celebration. But today I thought hard about how Jesus knew the depth of that celebration; that the people who were shouting “Hosanna” would be shouting “Crucify Him!” not even a week later.

I think those of us who have been Christians for a long time tend to have heard the details of Easter, Christmas, etc., so often that we stop really listening to them. We say that God loves and He sent His Son to die for us. However, I wonder if we ever really understand what that means.  It’s more than even the punishment He suffered before the Sanhedrin, before Pilate and on His way up to Golgotha.  It’s more than the physical punishment on the Cross.

First, there was the separation between the Father and Son to be endured.  People sometimes speak of how someone else is “a part of them”.  With the Trinity this was literally true — and that unity was shattered when Christ bore our sins in expiation.  I don’t think any human in this life is capable of understanding that pain; our deepest griefs are but shadows of it.

Second, we are quick to say that Christ came to earth to live among humans.  Again, I think we parrot this line without realizing what it means. I think C. S. Lewis put it best: “The difference between Einstein and an amoeba is nothing compared is nothing compared to the ontological gulf between us (as dependent creatures) and our eternal self-existent Creator.”  We can’t really understand what Jesus gave up to move from Creator to created.  Yet he did it, because He loved us.

The next time someone glibly rattles off John 3:16 to you or around you, stop for a moment and think about those things, about what the agape love of the Father asked of the Son, and how it was willingly given — for you.  The cost was great, but His love for you was greater.

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