By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist
On that first Palm Sunday, when Jesus made his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the crowd hailed him as their king. As he passed by, they cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and they spread palm branches on the road to carpet the path of the King.
Luke says that when Jesus “came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (19:37-38).
I hadn’t especially noticed that phrase before. They were praising God “for all the miracles they had seen.”
I thought of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Lots of them had seen that!
And what about the restoration of the sight of blind Bartimaeus? That had happened pretty recently; I imagine many of them were familiar with that miracle.
Jesus had done many other amazing things that many in this crowd had actually witnessed, so . . . they began “joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen”!
And then I thought about us. Do we praise God for the miracles that we’ve seen?
Maybe we haven’t seen Jesus walking through the cemetery raising dead people. Maybe we haven’t seen Jesus standing on Main Street healing the eyes of the blind. But does that mean he hasn’t touched our lives in ways that are nothing short of miraculous?
Is the fact that the sun rose this morning just a humdrum event we’ve used science to explain into dullness or do we have the eyes to see behind the sunrise the loving hand of an amazing God?
Is the fact that God has promised to actually be present in our worship as we gather in his name not miraculous, or is it just for us just another boring church service centered on us?
Can we talk to our kids about the mighty and merciful God who is saving us from our sins and giving us hope? Can we tell them about how God’s grace is becoming more real to us every day as we grow in him and learn to trust him more? Can we share with them how God has helped direct the paths of our family and affected the decisions we’ve made? Can we talk to them about specific prayers we believe God has answered on our behalf?
In short, are we like the crowd on the road into Jerusalem that day? Can we praise God for all the miracles we’ve seen God doing in our lives, or are we blind to them, and have we lost a lot of the joy that should be in our worship and in our lives because we only talk about what Christ did in the past tense as if the Lord was not living and working in his people today, as if the Resurrection had never happened?
I can’t help but wonder how many of those praising Jesus on that Sunday were shouting “Crucify him!” later that week. Did they forget about the miracles?
May we who know about the much greater miracles of the cross and the empty tomb never make the same mistake.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org