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Like a Mother Hen
By Dick Duerksen

The festival week had begun as a fairly normal time of purposeful chaos. Not the wild party of a Mardi Gras, but a solemn pilgrimage peppered with dancing. Passover was a yearly worship-feast that brought more than a million Jewish worshippers to David’s city and King Herod’s gleaming temple.

But Sunday morning changed everything about the week. Sunday was the morning when Jesus, a “maverick messiah,” allowed a million fans to cheer him as Deliverer, Conquering King, Savior, and God. “He will throw out the occupying army,” the revelers sang. “He will right the economy, restore the temple ceremonies, and set David back on the Lion’s throne.”

The kingly trappings were all there. Triumphal music. Kids waving palm branches. An un-ridden donkey – that allowed the King to ride on his back! Hallelujah shouts. Thousands lining the road as if Michael Jordan were walking by. Coats laying in the mud to provide a dry road for the King’s donkey.

Rome would fall before sundown!

The procession wound through Bethpage and came to the high point where Jerusalem was spread out before him. Spires, domes, heralds, and memories all clamored for his attention. But tears won out, the tears of a broken conqueror. Atop his donkey throne the King buried his face in his hands and sobbed the heart-rending cries of a father who has lost his first-born.

The partying people, not realizing that their King had turned the coronation into a wake, chanted even more boldly, throwing hallelujahs into the teeth of the watching Romans.

One of Christ’s followers touched his arm and asked about the tears.

“Is everything OK?”

“No, Peter. It’s not. Look down there at Jerusalem,” Jesus whispered. “O Jerusalem! I would do anything to save you, but instead you have rejected hope, cast aside love, and put faith to death.”

Then he cried all the louder.

Several city politicians elbowed their way to Jesus and commanded that he shut down the celebration. “Too loud,” they screamed above the party. “It’s out of place, inappropriate, and you have no parade permit from the Roman authorities. Stop it now!”

He heard their whiny commands, rubbed the tears from his eyes, and pointed to the rocks beneath their feet.

“If I told the people to be silent, then the rocks beneath your feet would shout hallelujah!”

The rulers snuck away, glancing uncomfortably at every rock. The crowd continued to shout and dance around the Romans. And the King slipped from his donkey and walked unnoticed down the hill toward the temple. Alone.

The people were so busy celebrating the God they wanted, that the True Messiah walked as an unknown stranger in their midst. According to the Gospel of Mark, he walked through empty streets to the temple, looked around at everything, and then walked back to Bethany and slipped into bed. Unneeded. Unnoticed. Unmissed. But ready, more ready than ever before, to give his all for those who didn’t even realize they needed him.

“Oh, how much I love you,” he wept, “Would that I could be a mother hen and spread my wings to protect you!” “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

By Dick Duerksen. All rights reserved by Bible Bay. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines