The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, “Why do you have that palm branch, dad?” “You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today.” The little boy replied, “Aw Shucks The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!”

The story is both humorous and tragic. The event of Palm Sunday was special for the very reason that Jesus showed up in Jerusalem. The Jewish people had been looking forward to the coming of the Promised Messiah for thousands of years. The people of the city cried praises to him and cast their coats and palm branches into his pathway worshiping him as the promised One. The Pharisees (religious leaders) tried to stop this “nonsense.” They commanded Jesus to order his followers to stop praising him. He told them that if the people stopped, the rocks would cry out.”

This event was the beginning of what many Christian leaders call “The Holy Week” or “the beginning of Christ’s passion.” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he knew there would be the crying out of praise to him, but he also knew that a few days later, the same people would cry out again. Except, the next time they would cry out for his blood! Their cries of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” would turn to cries of “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

When Jesus shows up, the world is transformed. When Jesus shows up, excitement erupts! When Jesus shows up, people change! When Jesus shows up, controversy strikes! When Jesus shows up, revolution breaks out! When Jesus shows up, revival cuts loose! When Jesus shows up, nothing will ever be the same again!

The little boy’s point was clear. Apparently, Jesus had not shown up at his church in a long time. Why would he show up in a place where he is not welcome? If church is just a little religious club or a place for fashion shows or a comfort zone for the religious, why would he come?

I still remember the story about an old cowboy who attended church services at a very stuffy and ornate church. He wore a ragged western shirt, tattered and faded jeans and boots that had been used hard out on the ranch. The entire time, people in the service glared at him with disgust. On his way out of the service he met the pastor who told him, “before you come back, talk to the Lord and ask him if you should dress a little bit nicer so that you can be pleasing in his sight.”

The next week the cowboy returned wearing the same old clothes. The pastor said, “Did you ask the Lord what you should wear to church when you come here?”

The cowboy responded, “I asked Jesus how I should dress for attending this church.”
“What did he say?” asked the pastor?

The cowboy replied, “Jesus said, ‘How should I know? I haven’t been to church there in years!”
I am excited that Jesus shows up every Sunday at First Christian Church! He knows that people not only welcome him, but they come seeking him in a personal way. I’m looking forward to having him with us this Sunday as we continue to celebrate him and all that he has done for us and all that he continues to do in our midst.

This Sunday we will continue our pre-resurrection celebration series of messages titled IN HIS STEPS with a sermon called Watch What He Does based on John 12. It will be another special day when Jesus shows up!

Always looking for him,

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