When I think about this coronavirus crisis, I think about how important healthcare workers are to our well-being. I think about how I pray every day for a vaccine to be developed more rapidly than medical scientists believe is humanly possible. I think about how we need to continue social distancing, even when we’re all sick of it. Earlier this week I officiated a social distanced wedding, and tomorrow I will lead a social distanced graveside burial. In both cases everyone is wishing that more people could be present, and that we could express ourselves by hugging one another. So we think excitedly about the end of the virus. In all our longing, I wonder if Jesus comes to mind. Does he matter to our view of how to live life during the virus shutdown? Of course he does, we Christians would say. But how?
This week our posts on the blog have been reviewing Matthew 21:1-17, the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry. On that momentous first Palm Sunday, the crowds in Jerusalem, including children, clearly identify Jesus as the Messianic King, son of their great King David, who was promised in the Old Testament prophetic writings. He is the one true King of the Kingdom of God. On Palm Sunday, we declared, along with the crowds that day in Jerusalem at his Triumphal Entry, “the King has come!” Furthermore, he is a Prophet King, pointing to the truth, which he himself embodies. He is the way, the truth and life. Finally, he is Priest King, pointing us to prayer. But how does Jesus, the Prophet, Priest and King, matter to our world crisis?
In these days of shutdown and shelter in place and social distancing and a stock market crash and economic recession or depression, and of course, health crisis and ventilators and masks, and over-crowded hospitals and pandemic, we can forget that Jesus has always been and still is King. Again, that does not mean that he causes all things that happen. I do not believe that he caused this virus (sometimes we hear things like that, but I do not agree with that). Just because there is a world-wide crisis, we should not make the jump to thinking that Jesus isn’t King – a King has all authority. He is a good King – he is selfless, loving, powerful, and humble, taking the messes we make out of our own free will and working them for good.
Take a few moments and think about what moved Jesus’ heart in this story. He loved seeing people’s heart to worship and prayer, and he was upset and angry by those who were disrupting that and taking advantage of people. What that means is that his heart is moved by your heart to worship and talk with him. How beautiful is that?
Can I encourage you to take time this week to read this important story as we lead up to next week, Easter Sunday? It can be found from several different perspectives. Today we read Matthew’s perspective. But also read Mark 11:1-19. And Luke 19:28-48. Finally John 12:12-50.
Does your family know that Jesus is your king?
Do your neighbors?
What will it look like for you to depend on King Jesus in the middle of this crisis? What will it look like for you to shout your own version of “Hosanna” to the King, proclaiming the joyful hope that he gives us, even in the middle of a crisis?
We have hope of not only eternal life, but also abundant life here and now!