Burdens and blindness

Jesus sauntered into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. One burden-bearer carrying another. The weight of the world, in a matter of days, would rest upon his shoulders.

Once inside the Jerusalem power center, the prophet from Nazareth showed his strength. He drove greedy opportunists from the house of prayer. He healed blind eyes and lame legs. He questioned the religiously established even as they quizzed him on his credentials.

From Palm Sunday to Crucifixion Friday, he amazed his disciples and mesmerized the people. Even the people’s religious leaders were impressed. They were also threatened. By his power, by his magnetism, by his upside-down philosophy of religion.

For example, the religious establishment said those who KNOW what’s right hold the keys to the kingdom. Jesus said those who DO what’s right are welcomed in. The establishment said those in positions of authority please God. Jesus said those in postures of humility please him.

The establishment didn’t much care for this nonsense. They hadn’t worked for years earning their stripes to have a tradesman from rural Judea steal their thunder. So they looked for a way to catch him in his words without catching the grassroots on fire.

“Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” “Which is the greatest commandment?” But the crafty creator slipped their traps and astonished the crowds with populist paradoxes:

“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Hard as they tried, the ministerial mainstays couldn’t pin him down. But then a breakthrough. A sellout from the prophet’s own camp! An instant credibility crisis for the rabble rouser.

And it didn’t break the bank. Just a pouch full of silver coins. A small fraction of the weekly collection. Salaries and benefits would not be touched!

But the heart of God would be, and it would break.

The people God chose did not choose him. They stood him up at his own wedding reception. They produced no good fruit in the luscious vineyards he provided. The “blind guides” cleaned the outsides of their cups but left the insides curdling. Alas!

We are not then overly surprised by the evil that unfolded. The spitting, the mocking, the flogging, the spikes, the spear. The unspeakable torture. The criminal’s death.

Jesus healed the blind, but he could not heal Israel’s blind guides. They would not let him.

Which brings us to us.

We are blind. We can either accept a healing touch or become blind guides ourselves.

We are weighed down. By things we’ve done, by things done to us, by things we’ve done in response to things done to us. We can either lay our weight on another’s shoulders or soldier on alone.

He who rode into town on a beast of burden can bear the burden of our beastly acts. He can heal our blind eyes before we become blind guides.

And we can join the “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” (Rev. 7:9-10)

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at www.kwt.info. Reach him at kevin@kwt.info.

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