SUCCESS AND FAILURE
This coming Sunday we begin the celebration of the last week of the earthly life of Jesus. As Christians we believe that no other week in human history is so important. Palm Sunday brings our minds back to the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with the shouts of praise and acclaim from the crowds. From all appearances, Jesus was a success.
Winners get high praise. People like to be aligned with winners. But if Holy Week tells us anything, it certainly tells us that humans are not very good at telling the difference between winners and losers. What looks like success can actually be appalling failure. And what appears to be failure can be glorious success.
Jesus entered Jerusalem with the sound of celebration. But just a few short days later he experienced betrayal by one of his closest followers. The following day he heard cries of condemnation coming from a crowd that may have included some of the very people who cheered for him just a short time before.
The leaders Jesus had criticized struck back. He ended up in the grips of the most glaring sort of failure, the kind of failure that is fatal. And the week ends with Jesus dead and buried. We know that the story doesn’t end there, but before we can fully appreciate what happens next we must take with deep seriousness the events that we remember this week. We need to remember that we can’t always tell what is failure from genuine lasting success.
Grace and Peace,