Thursday, March 29, 2007

PALM SUNDAY PARADOX

The following is attributed to Frederick C. Grant:

NOT, AND YET. "Palm Sunday is the festival of a paradox, the paradox that lies that the very heart of the Christian faith. Jesus is the Messiah, and yet not the Messiah. Nevertheless in a higher and final sense he is the Messiah, the one who was to come, and who came, and who is still to come. He was the Messiah of Jewish expectation, yet he was not, for he never fulfilled the nationalistic expectations of his people. And yet he was, and is, the Messiah in the sense that he more than fulfilled those expectations."

THE KING WHO DID NOT REIGN. "He is the one whose coming the prophets had foretold, but the fulfillment so greatly exceeded the hope that we can only say He is the one whom the prophets dimly foresaw, interpreted, and misinterpreted. 'Jesus is the King who did not reign.' Even so, Christians have described him as the 'uncrowned King.' He was uncrowned, but it was with a crown of thorns, and his scepter was a reed. He did not reign, yet he does reign, he has reigned, he will reign for ever and ever."

REIGNING FROM THE TREE. "For Jesus has reigned ever since his crucifixion. As medieval artists and poets described him, the Lord is 'reigning from the tree' (Psalm 96 10). That is how John understood the words 'If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me' (John 12 32). That is how Paul understood the words, 'He became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and given him a name that is a above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knew shall bow.'"

FAITH UNDERSTANDS. "Yet it is a paradox, which can be understood only by faith. And not only understood, for faith finds it the life-giving reality which expresses and explains all Gods dealings with men, the clue to this all encompassing mystery of our brief life here on earth, our alienation from God, our reconciliation to God, indeed our whole and our only salvation."

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