Who is this? This is what the people of Jerusalem ask as the crowds come into Jerusalem singing hail and hosannas to Jesus. They proclaim him publicly and then a few days later they desert him leaving him to defend himself, one betrays him, another denies him. Who is this?
See we’re not so different from this crowd, the crowd shouting hail and hosannas. We like it when we are the dominate people, the people who are winning, the people on top. See the hails and hosannas are because the crowd truly believed that Jesus had come to save them from Rome, their oppressor. When they realize Jesus is fully human, can be arrested, can be beaten, can be silenced they all fade away.
This week I heard an interview with an author who had a mystical experience in her life. All of her life she has tried to explain this experience through rationality because, as she puts it we wouldn’t have been given the means to do this and not be able to. All her explaining, rationalizing of her experience sounded rough, so rough it cheapened the experience, almost making it nothing, though it is everything to her. Her witness of this is no surrender, do not let go in your mind that there must be some psychological, scientific way to explain this encounter.
How do we witness? Are we like the crowd, when we feel we are among those who agree with us we are willing to witness about what Christ has done in our lives, or are we like the disciples who when the going gets tough and we feel as though we may be in danger we disappear, fade into the background, or are you like the woman who are silently weeping and silently witnessing care, love, concern as they bravely make their way to the tomb? Who is this?
I hear the voices out there, the ones who know definitely, definitively who Jesus is. Then there are the voices of those hurt by the church who don’t want another word on who Jesus is. Some are so quiet you wouldn’t even know that they knew Jesus.
Witness is an important part of the gospels and we hear it to today in Paul. It was important for the first church. Witness is something we wrestle with our whole Christian walk because we continually have to ask and answer who is this? Who is this Jesus who won rock star status with the crowds and then fades into the background because he is killed? Who is this Jesus who keeps reforming, remaking, and replanting us? Who is this Jesus that demands we become servants and pick up crosses, and endure ridicule in his name? How will you choose to witness about this Jesus?