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Christ’s successful mission

Last Saturday I had a block of time to do a small repair job that I have been putting off since Hurricane Michael roared through our yard.  Some siding was blown off the house during the storm and I tacked it back into place temporarily.  After a year and half, I finally did a more permanent fix.  I knew I had to be careful with my work since I knew there was an internet cable that I did not want to hit with the screws I was using.  Unfortunately, I got so involved in what I was doing that I forgot about the cable and put a screw right through the middle of the cable!  What I thought was a successful job turned out to be a failure, at least for the moment.  Someone wrote that “Failure isn’t so bad if it doesn’t attack the heart.  Success is alright if it doesn’t go to the head.”  Thankfully I managed to save the cable and everything turned out alright.  I experienced both success and failure in a short amount of time. 

As Christ rode into Jerusalem on His journey to the cross to die for the sins of humankind, He was initially viewed by the people as a huge success.  But it was only a short while before they considered Him a failure–a flop–because He did not meet their expectations.

As we observe Holy Week, remembering the events that led up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we find that His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was filled with a euphoric crowd who was sure that He was an outstanding success and that He would fulfill their expectations of the role of the long awaited Messiah:  “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’  ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!’  ‘Hosanna in the highest.’  When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”  The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee’” (Matthew 21:8-11, New International Version).

The crowds who greeted Christ were convinced that He was an overwhelming success because they expected Him to be their ruler—militarily, politically, and in every way that one would expect an earthly ruler to be.  But the tide quickly changed when they realized that His kingdom was of a different sort; it was a spiritual kingdom; it was the Kingdom of God.  When He did not meet their personal expectations, their view of this King of the Jews moved from seeing Him as an overwhelming success to an absolute failure:  “’What shall I do, then, with Jesus Who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked.  They all answered, “Crucify Him!”  “Why?  What crime has He committed?” asked Pilate.  But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify Him!’”  (Matthew 27:22-23).

Was Christ a success or a failure?  People might give varying answers to that inquiry, but we know from Scripture that He was, without any doubt, a complete success for He achieved what He came to earth to do—provide eternal life for those who will give their hearts to Him.

Our world is in the midst of one of the most trying times that most of us have ever seen, yet we should all make a conscious decision not to allow the present hardships—as real and devastating as they are—to cause us to fail to remember that we are in the most holy season of the year.  During the next several days as we travel through Holy Week and reflect on the suffering and sacrifice of Christ, we should remember that He made the only way for you and me to have eternal hope.  That is real success!