I’ve often reflected on our nature as Christians to run with excitement to the Palm Sunday scene. We love the pageantry of waving palms with a popular crowd, and singing, “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! But we are reluctant to come close to the cross at Calvary. It’s discomforting to participate with Jesus in his suffering.
Franklin Graham makes a similar comparison, noting that as Jesus was led to his crucifixion, “Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end” (Matthew 26:58). Graham continues: “Many Christians in America today want to follow Jesus at a distance. They want to give themselves a little room—they want to watch which way the wind will blow before they are publicly seen too close to the Lord. When Jesus is portrayed in a good light or when it’s comfortable, they will stand next to Him. But if Jesus is going to be mocked or cursed or insulted, they want to stay back until they know how things will go.”
Perhaps it’s time for each of us to ask God to search our hearts and reveal the ways in which we are maintaining space between us and him. We ask God to come close when we sing praise, study scripture, seek him in prayer, and in times of our own trials. But is that enough? What about those conversations with nonbelievers who are uncomfortable with talk of God and Jesus? Do we become uncomfortable too? Do we turn away from God when we go to work or get busy with our chores and hobbies, believing God still lives in a temple building – forgetting that we ourselves are God’s temple? (1 Corinthians 3:16. 1 Corinthians 6:19) God inhabits his temple, so if we are his temple, he goes with us in every area of our lives! Let us not only meet him at church but celebrate him everywhere we go.
What better time than the beginning of a new year to decide to draw close to God, and not leave him at a distance?! Let’s singlemindedly decide to honor him in everything we do.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4-8
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance(A) from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24