(Matthew 21 v 1-17)
The first three quarters of the movie had been ok, neither the best nor the worst, but now out came the stops. The familiar trumpet chorus from Rossini’s William Tell Overture sounded, the white stallion reared on its hind legs, and we were off at a gallop with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, chasing the baddies through the mountains on a runaway train.
From around the cinema, all the men around my age murmured our approval. For a few seconds we were transported back over the years to when we were young boys watching cartoons on TV. Perched on the arm of the sofa as our horse, we urged on the masked rider in the white hat. Hi – ho - Silver – away!
Now our childhood hero was back, charging fearlessly to the rescue. For just a moment we were assured the innocent would be saved, the villains would get what was coming to them, and good would somehow finally win the day.
A bit like when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on ‘Palm Sunday’. Something stirred in the people that day, like an old memory. A prophecy they had been taught as little children, that one day a hero would come to their rescue! So they lined the streets and clapped and cheered, like crowds at a movie premiere, eager for a glimpse, an autograph, a miracle.
But their enthusiasm was short lived, their commitment shallow. Within a week, disillusioned by His insistence on spiritual priorities and holiness, and poisoned by the slander of their leaders, most of them had turned on their Saviour and had him executed.
However Christians believe this was not a failed mission, nor indeed the end of the story.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Colossians, insists that Jesus’ suffering and death were in fact God’s way of bringing us forgiveness, new life and freedom! The witnesses insist Christ rose victorious over death and evil, mighty to save all who trust in Him! Alone He has triumphed, and His followers are given to share in the joy of all He has achieved in His cross and resurrection, for time and eternity!
‘Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’ (Colossians 2 v 15)
Anyone can discover this joy of knowing Jesus through trust and obedient service, even though, like Him, we may temporarily suffer opposition and rejection from some out there in the world.
Being a Christian definitely isn’t for wimps. It is for those who want to be heroes. Those who dare to believe, even in the face of all the world’s cynicism, that goodness will ultimately have the victory. Those willing to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the greatest hero of them all!