There is a saying that if you don’t like Melbourne weather, just wait half an hour and it will change.
I’ve found myself these past few weeks starting off the day with jumper and heater – only to be ripping them off before midday and putting the air conditioning on and then getting home and putting my electric blanket on.
Things change very quickly:
The football season has just started and the media are already speculating on which coach will be sacked first.
In our own lives things can also take a sudden change. Life can be going along so smoothly until there’s a call back from the doctor – or there’s a knock at the door with the news that there’s been an accident.
We cannot find any guarantee against such changes in life. We take out insurance to try and cope but health insurance won’t stop you from getting sick – just a huge bill and your choice of hospital and doctor.
Life insurance won’t protect your life but gives some financial security to those left behind. Car insurance won’t protect you from the person who has had a few too many drinks or who is distracted on their mobile phone. Likewise Jesus is discovering today just how uncertain life can be and how quickly it can change.
In the matter of days Jesus will go from having people praising and cheering him to calling for his death.
But surprisingly there is really nothing untoward that happens that would change their minds about Jesus.
And that’s sometimes how life goes. Sometimes there is no explanation as to why certain things happen.
Even Jesus himself struggled and asked why, even though he knew that this is what was going to happen:
He cried out – “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me”. And that’s sometimes what we feel like crying out – My God – why? We know that God loves us but we still question it at times. Why are you letting this happen to me? Sometimes there is no answer as to why. As a Pastor, sometimes I have to shake head in disbelief too when I am asked – why? And when that happens I don’t point them to an answer or a reason why, but I point them to the one who can provide comfort and assurance and that is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus was not immune to the unexpected changes in life but what he has done is gone beyond those changes to give us hope. So when something unexpected come our way – no matter how tragic that circumstance is – Jesus points us beyond that to the coming time when all that will fade away and a new life will emerge.
Just as John saw in his Revelation when he said: I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. God will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Part of the reason why the people turned on Jesus was because he didn’t arrive the way they expected their new King to arrive. He didn’t arrive on a white stallion ready for battle – he arrived on a donkey. But that has been the type of King Jesus has been all along. He wasn’t born in a palace but in a barn – in a feeding trough.
He wasn’t born to a ruling King and Queen but to an unwed teenage peasant girl. He didn’t associate with the leading members of society but ate and drank with sinners and tax collectors. And maybe that’s why so many people struggle with their relationship with God. Because God doesn’t always act in ways that we believe God should act. God should protect us from sickness, death and tragic accidents.
We call events like what we have just seen in Queensland and NSW as “acts of God”. Acts of God that have killed and injured and destroyed. And so Jesus’ entrance today is a different type of entry. It is an entry that shows that God doesn’t always work to OUR expectations but instead offers us a better expectation. An expectation that he is there for us when it matters most. When we are standing before God on Judgment Day we will have by our side the one who has been given all authority. That’s what St Paul said: God exalted Jesus to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, and Jesus will use that authority to ensure us of our home in heaven without judgment. In our Baptism we hear that assurance when Jesus says – all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. So we are not to look at what is happening all around us which is so uncertain. We are to look to the future where Jesus has made all things new and therefore we are certain of what is ahead of us. A new heaven and new earth.
Life along the way may not always be what we hope or expect, but with Jesus by our side we know that when we arrive at the end of life that Jesus will be there to make sure we do not miss out on entering into heaven.
And with Jesus, our entry into heaven will be OUR triumphal entry.
Hosanna to Jesus Christ our Lord.