Today is Palm Sunday, 2018. This week started with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ended with his tragic death on Calvary.
In a sense, it is very strange that this week should be called holy. As we walked through it, unfolding before our eyes was a scene of deception and dishonor, betrayal and denial, political expedience and religious corruption, all of which culminated in the greatest crime of history. Judged by the scenery, this could easily be called Hell Week. But the strength and courage of one man took those seven days of shame and transformed them into Holy Week.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to be spared the shame and suffering of the cross, but He closed His prayer with the most meaningful sentence: “Not my will but yours be done.”
All of His life, Jesus had practiced and preached faith in God the Father. He believed that the same God who feeds the birds and dresses the flowers could be trusted for the daily necessities of life. He told a story about a father who met his wayward son with open arms and welcomed him back into the family. He believed that God could be trusted to forgive and accept even the worst of sinners.
Faith in God Our Father had always been a part of His life, as natural, it seemed, as breathing. But the real test came that night in the garden. It is one thing to trust God amid the flowers of Galilee; it is another thing to trust God under the shadow of the cross. It is one thing to trust God in the good times; it is another thing to trust Him in the bad times.
In the bible, we will find examples of these two kinds of faith – those who trusted God when all was going well, and those who trusted Him even when life caved in on them. That first kind doesn’t mean much unless it carries over into the second. Anyone can trust God in fair weather; the real test comes in the storm.
The book of Daniel, in the Old Testament, tells the story of three young men who passed that test. The King of Babylon built a golden statue and ordered all people to bow down and worship it. These three young men, being faithful to God, refused to obey the order. The King was furious and threatened to throw them into a fiery furnace. And here is what the three young men replied, “Our God is able to deliver us and will deliver us; but even if He does not, we will never bow down.” This is unconditional faith.
But the supreme example of this type of faith is Jesus in the garden. There He faced the cross and prayed, “Father, if it be your will, take this cup from me; yet not my will but your will be done.” His unwavering faith in God took seven days of shame and transformed them into Holy Week.
So it should be with our faith. Our faith ought to tell us that God is our Father and that He will never stop loving us no matter what we do and no matter what other people do. He is always there and ever eager to accept, to forgive and to save. Keep on placing your unwavering faith in Him and in no one else. You will never be disappointed.