Every celebration has the reality of the morning after.
The cheers give way to silence. Passion to apathy. Conviction to uncertainty. At some point in every party, the doors swing out and the crowds with all their accolades fade with diminishing scale into the darkness.
Hard to imagine that many of us did not hear a sermon yesterday on the Triumphal Entry of Jesus. Oh the frivolity of palm branches, anthems, and shouts of ‘Hosanna.’ What a joy it is for us to be raptured up in praises of King Jesus. Yet, I wonder, how do we wake up the next morning to the reality of His kingship?
We are told Jesus returns after the parade to Bethany–you know, to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, the place where the grave had given up its dead at the command of the King. He is after all the Good Shepherd, the one who not only walks with us through our valleys of the shadow of death, He has also walked His own.
In the early hours of the morning after, the living are much less inclined to give up the doubting, the position of comfort and power, or their entitlements. The living resist the reign of rulers not recognized in the old familiarity of the mirror. Pride awakens.
The gospels place Jesus the morning after returning to the temple in Jerusalem.The Temple. In Jerusalem. The two places, revered as one in the heart of every Jew. The one place where the Son of David, the Son of God should be most welcome; most worshiped.
Instead, Jesus meets the morning after with resistance. “When He entered the temple, the chief priest and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?‘” (Matthew 21:23).
Why do we so often awake resisting the authority we acknowledged yesterday? Why is it in the morning after that we forget His rule is good and kind and righteous?
“And they began reasoning among themselves” (Matthew 21:25). Why in the morning after do we over think our King’s rightful rule? Why do our praises turn to pointless thoughts of contradiction?
“We fear the people…” (Matthew 21:26). Why does the morning after bring fear of people when there is a all-powerful King in our presence? Oh, rebellious heart, why do you care what people will think of you?
The morning after Jesus was welcomed as King, His authority, His wisdom, and His power were challenged. Challenged in a place by people who should have known better. I wonder if that is true as well today, in this morning after. “Thy kingdom come” meets resistance today as it did then. May we turn our own resistance into resolve to not let it be you or me.
Today I’m linking up with the others at Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday. You might want to take a look over there…I always find it worth the journey.