March 28, 2010

Holy Week Day 1: Triumphal Entry

Triumphal Entry by Bernhard Plockhorst
On the last Sunday of the Savior’s mortal ministry the Lord rode down the Mt. of Olives into the Kidron Valley, and then into the city of Jerusalem through the Golden Gate. He rode on a donkey, symbolizing His entry as a king of peace, as entering on a white horse would symbolize His entry as a king of war. Shouts of praises could be heard from the multitudes as they covered the ground with their robes, and waved palm leafs as a sign of His triumphant entry.

We often ask why on this holy Sunday these Jews were willing to accept Jesus as their King, and then by Friday they cried for His crucifixion. The answer seems to lie in who they sought as their King. The Jews wanted a King who would free them from their Roman captors, and allow them to become an independent nation once again (as under the rule of King David). They sought for a god that would save them from physical bondage, yet overlooked the more important spiritual freedom that the Savior would provide.

Put simply, they had created and set up a false god. They believed in God, there is no doubt about that. They had faith in Jehovah. They read the scriptures. They worshiped on the Sabbath. They most likely were very good people. Yet, they did not understand the true mission, or the true power of Christ Jesus. Thus, they had set up a false god after the image of the god they desired for themselves. In short they had broken the first two great commandants.

Often as Christians we discount these two commandments as irrelevant; after all, we do believe in God, and if we are truly Christian then we do not worship idols of false gods. Yet, these two laws are just as relevant today as they were during the time of Moses. We often point to having idols of personal wealth and possessions as our own modern idolatry, yet we look past, I feel, the very purpose of this commandment when only teaching this. It is true that we should not set up personal possessions in place of God; however, note the words of the last part of the second commandment: “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images, or any likeness of anything" (Exodus 20:4)

Note how the Lord states that we are not to have anything even the “likeness” of a god. If we do not know who God really is, and we have false expectations, or we put limits on His power in any way, we have set up a “likeness” of a false god.

To understand the reason God does not want us to worship false gods we must first ask ourselves why God has this law in the first place. The reason could be because He is a jealous God and feels that the more we worship Him the more power He gains. However, He is still God whether or not we worship Him or any other god, so this cannot be why. It is true He is a jealous God, but perhaps a better way to explain this is that He is jealous to protect us; in fact this is the exact reason for this law.

He knows His power, and He knows that He can do all things. When we put limitations on His power, we limit (in essence) His power to change us. Of course, He always has all power, but we limit our ability to access His power because we don’t really understand His true ability. When we worship God not as He really is, we worship a false god.

It would be like if you knew a pilot who had an airplane, and thought that the plane was for decoration, and that the propeller was used to cool their backyard. If you thought this and never asked your pilot friend to take you on a flight, you would never be able to witness and partake of the power that he had to fly you around the world and take you to any destination you desired.

When we set up a false god, we limit the Lord’s ability to take us to any destination. We limit His ability to show us new vistas that can inspire and change our hearts.

So how do we set up false gods? One way is by not knowing who Jesus truly is. If we see Him as a god who will free us from financial debts or addictions without any effort on our part, we have set up a false god. If we see Him only as a god that can forgive others of their sins, but not ours, we have set up a false god. If we see Christ as a vengeful, wrathful god, who cannot love us because of who we are, we have set up a false god. Each time we portray the Lord in a way that is not correct, we set up a false god, and limit His ability to change our soul.

I have done this on numerous occasions. I never have understand why He would love someone like me, so I have a hard time allowing Him to love me as much as He does. I have had a hard time accepting his forgiveness, after all, I have a hard time forgiving myself, so why would He not also have a hard time forgiving me?  Yet, each time I do this, I limit the effect He can have on me. In essence, because I do not understand who Christ is fully, I do not understand what He can do for me. I have set up my own false image of who Christ really is.

However, I have tried to better understand Him, and better know of His power, and as I have done so, I have seen His power, and my life has changed for the better.

I invite you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets have testified (see Ether 12:41). I invite you to look for ways that you have set up a false image of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and how by properly understanding who He really is, you will gain great power.

I testify that the man who entered Jerusalem on this sacred Palm Sunday almost two thousand years ago is the Savior of the world. He is a loving God who will forgive you of your sins. He loves us more than we can comprehend. He has done more for us than any other being. Of Him I testify, of Him I bow my knee in humble adoration. Truly, as the Master Himself stated “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

I pray that had we each been there on that Palm Sunday, we would have worshiped Christ for the Messiah He was and is. I pray that we would bow the knee and spread our cloak in adoration, and allow Him to not only enter the city of Jerusalem, but our very hearts and souls!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, really beautiful.
    Also, "jealousy" = "qanna'" = "You messa with my kids, I breaka your face." =)

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