When Jesus Fails You

Palm Sunday is the celebration of Jesus's "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem.  The crowds had come to celebrate the one they believed to be the Messiah.  He had done so much for the people, and demonstrated amazing ability and power in the process.  He had healed the sick, fed a vast multitude with nothing more than a few fish and a couple loaves of bread, and most recently, He had even raised the dead.

It's on the heels of such good news that Jesus rode into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival.  A festival in which the Jewish people remembered when God, through the prophet Moses, "with a mighty hand and outstretched arm," supernaturally delivered His people from 400 years of slavery in Egypt.  As Jesus entered Jerusalem to the shouts of hosanna ("God save!") there can be no doubt that the eyes on many were on Him, as they looked for history to perhaps repeat itself through the likes of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they hoped would be yet another deliverer, and another Moses.  They hoped that like Moses, Jesus would rise up and overthrow the Romans, who had long since conquered the land they lived in, and liberate the brutally oppressed Jewish people.

Yet, Jesus did none of these things.

Instead of confronting the Romans and liberating Jerusalem, Jesus did the opposite thing, and confronted the religious leaders in the temple, denouncing them as hypocrites, and publicly damning them all to hell.  Instead of uniting the people around the temple in a rebellion against Rome, Jesus caused a violent scene in the temple that interrupted the flow of regular worship activity.  Jesus eventually left the city and the temple, weeping and with anger, prophesied of a time to come in which the Romans would dismantle Jerusalem and the temple brick by brick, until nothing was left.  And before the week was even over, Jesus was publicly crucified by the very enemy that so many thought He would liberate the Jewish people from.

In the eyes of many, Jesus had failed them.  He did not live up to the expectation and hype,  and He did not turn out to be what they had hoped for.  Even the Scriptures reinforced their disappointment.

And so history has ways of repeating itself today. Live your life long enough as a Christian, and you'll find out the painful truth that there are times when Jesus fails you.

There will be times when things you pray for never materialize.

There will be times when hopes and dreams are shattered.

There will be times when callings are frustrated, and visions die.

There will be times when your enemies and circumstances triumph over you.

There will be times when bills go unpaid.

There will be time when spouses leave.

There will be times when sickness ravages you and those you love.

There will be times where you think that God is a liar.

It is no wonder that Judas betrayed Jesus for something more tangible, like thirty pieces of silver.  It is no wonder Peter thrice denied ever knowing Jesus.  It is no wonder that all had forsaken Him.

The weight of the cross was simply too much for them all.  And so often today, it is just too much for us.  A crucified Messiah?  What's that?  Messiahs don't get crucified, Messiahs always win.

And so they stumbled over the offense of the cross, even as we do today.

We do a disservice to the body of Christ when we always end church services on a high note, and treat Jesus as the solution to all of our problems.  Such a thing is akin to a false prophecy, of which no amount of positive thinking will overcome.  Such is the selling of a faith that does not exist, and has no grounds or basis in reality.  Such is a hallow triumphalism and hosanna chorus that cannot be sustained for more than the day Jesus enters Jerusalem.

It is a faith that will be destroyed before the week is out.

Such a thing as they hoped for is the teaching of  the faith in a Messiah that exists without crosses.  It's the very thing the Jews were looking for, but never got.  But, a crucified Messiah is the thing as Christians that we must come to know and experience for ourselves.  "Knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified" is much more than just a history lesson or theory of atonement that we must give a mental nod to.  Knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified is a history lesson that must bear repeating, and be something that we actually experience in our own lives, even as those who shouted hosannas had to experience it in theirs.

There will be times when Jesus fails us, because we believe in a crucified Messiah.

1 comment:

  1. I understand the sentiment of your article, but to claim that Jesus can "fail" us is inaccurate. If Jesus seems to have "failed" in delivering the "goods" we had hoped for, it is because He has not made such guarantees in the first place.

    However - in all circumstances, He has promised Himself... and He suffices in meeting our every need (physical, emotional, spiritiual).

    Larry Crabb's "The Pressure's Off" is a pretty good book on this point.