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He Will Die

02 April 2012 by Neil

Some days ago in Galilee, a man knew that it was time to finish it. He stood up, turned towards the south, and started walking. He was not to be dissuaded. His friends followed morosely, because they thought he was marching to his death. They were right.

The trip was eventful. He taught wisdom. He taught of the kingdom of heaven. He gave sight to the blind. He devastated the rhetorical plots of enemies. He listened to fair-weather friends trumpeting their own sacrifice and loyalty. He tolerated friends seeking vice-regency. He played with children. He taught servant-hood over ascendancy.

He ran headlong to his grave.

Yesterday, he arrived in Jerusalem. He approached like a king, riding over cloaks and palm fronds. With no idea what they were talking about, the adoring crowds sang Psalm 118:26 to him. But he knew exactly what he was doing. He had come in the name of the Lord. He had come to die.

He was inexorable. He went straight to the house of God and turned it upside down. He once again lit up the eyes of the sightless. He locomoted the lame. When those who should have known him did not, he told them to listen to the children singing Hosanna. He acted as if he were the very Son of David.

Today, he entered the house of God again. The chief priests and elders challenged his authority. In fact they had already soundly rejected him, but he unveiled their bankruptcy and called them the builders. He claimed for himself the great title of Psalm 118:22: the Cornerstone that the builders rejected. And he told them that they would trip over him and that he would crush them. He should have feared them if he had hoped to survive, but his task did not include survival.

In a few days, the crowds will have turned; he isn't what they expected. The priests will get their way; he doesn't fit their formula. The gentiles will kill the Jew; he is ridiculous to them.

He will die. But then, something marvelous will happen (Psalm 118:23). He will live. By rising, he will prove all his claims, he will kill death and he will make a church.  And as for this church, he will be both its foundation and its builder.  In absolute awe, we will be able to say:
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” -- Psalm 118:24

And he will save! With sure hope and confidence, all his friends old and young will sing the song of the redeemed:
“Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.” -- Psalm 118:19-21