The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” — Matthew 21:9
“Hosanna” is a derivation of two words. “Yasha,” meaning “save,” and “na,” meaning now. Put them together, and you hear the crowd on Palm Sunday chanting to Jesus, “Save [us] now!”…
…Which is exactly what I want. I want life to turn out like a good action movie. I find myself in a painful, scary situation, and the hero shows up just in the nick of time. Like Superman flying in at the last moment.
Yet on Palm Sunday Jesus doesn’t get off the donkey and confront the Romans. Instead, he simply continues riding into what will become known as “Holy Week,” a euphemism if there ever was one. Jesus will allow himself to be betrayed by a close friend. He will be tempted to give up his faith. He will face physical and emotional pain that indescribable. He will die.
And in the process, he moves from imagined Superman to real savior.
People have differing thoughts, as you know, about how the cross “saves” us. Jesus took our place, some say. Jesus was a sacrifice, righting the scales of justice, others say.
But the more I’ve walked with Jesus in my discipleship, the more I’m convinced that the cross saves us by pointing to the “process” of salvation: WE ARE SAVED AS WE GO THROUGH SUFFERING, NOT DELIVERED FROM IT.
By Jesus going through what we go through, he has blessed it. He has experienced the worst of life, so that from it may emerge new life. Whoever follows Jesus and experiences the thorns of this world will also experience his presence, because he’s been there. In the process, that person becomes transformed. That which was weak in him/her now grows strong. That which felt like giving up now endures. That which wanted to play it safe and cling to old, even destructive, patterns now takes risks.
A hero will rescue you from your peril, but you’ll still be the same person as you were before.
A savior will be with you in your peril, transforming you into a new creation–someone stronger, smarter, more compassionate, more trusting.
Let heroes be in movies.
Let the Savior be in our lives.
1 thought on “MONDAY MEDITATION: Savior or Superman? (March 27)”
Greg, I enjoy all of your Monday blogs. Thank you.