By Not Known
April has an important day on the British calendar this year. It is not the 22 April Good Friday, but the 29 April Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. “Look how the whole world has gone after them!” someone enviously exclaimed. Indeed, quick- thinking businessmen have already cashed in on them with the sale of “William and Kate” merchandise, exclusive websites trailing that Royal Friday, and not forgetting the paparazzi. Like it or not, everybody is made a beneficiary by the declaration of a national holiday. Whatever happens to Good Friday?
That Sunday leading up to that Good Friday two thousand years ago, the Pharisees too enviously exclaimed, “Look how the whole world has gone after him (Jesus)!” (Jn 12:19b) Indeed a great crowd of curious Jews who heard about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead had gathered on their way into Jerusalem to welcome their icon – “the King of Israel!” (v13c) Even some Greeks had wanted to see Jesus (v21). The chief priests and the Pharisees were also looking for him, in order to kill him (11:53), because he claimed to be God (10:33) and threatened their religious careers (11:48). Everyone, including his disciples, was a beneficiary of that Good Friday even though they did not understand its significance. Do we?
Consider what the high priest Caiaphas said prophesying by God that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation and the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one (11:51-52). Without God’s ‘permission’, their plot to kill Jesus would fail. God himself would glorify his own son (12:28). God owns Good Friday, not us. Jesus is the gospel of God (Rom 1:1). Have you looked to him?
Furthermore, Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem riding on a donkey echoes a prophecy of Zechariah. At the heart of the judgement of Israel’s enemies (Zech 9:1-8) and the salvific restoration of Israel (9:10-17) is the king “righteous and having salvation” (9:9). He did not come for his own amongst his enemies, riding on a war horse. Instead one who rides on a donkey is a symbol of peace. God has sent his peace-maker to us. Have you made peace with God?
For all who look to Jesus and make peace with God, truly there is nothing to be afraid about (Jn 12:15) as they look forward to Good Friday and Easter. For beginning with those days, “the prince of this world will be driven out” (12:31) and Jesus “will draw all men to himself” (12:32). So let’s enter the Passion Week with confidence because God has saved the king and all who trusted and remained in him! It is not just another national holiday.