This blog post first appeared on the Ordinary Strange as Palm Sunday: A Letter to My People. Re-published with permission.
“I write this with tears because I’m so grieved. I’m heartbroken. I can’t fully explain it but it feels like there are a million pounds of pressure on my chest and I’m having a hard time breathing. The weight of your stubbornness is going to kill me but it’s going to destroy you. If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you. You will believe that violence will bring you peace. But instead, it will break you into pieces. I grieve for you.
Have you not been listening? Have you not heard the prophets? I’ve been sending Morse codes throughout the centuries of my arrival, of my Kingdom, of my peace and yet you still cling to your swords, your laws, and your hatred.
I am the lamb being led to the slaughter. It’s been written this would happen but only because it’s how you’ve always been. You’ve killed the prophets who spoke my words. You’ve shunned the poor who bear my image, you’ve shamed the widow who has my heart, and you’ve neglected the prisoners who have my mercy. For what? For convenience? For power? For comfort?
You have not changed and it kills me. You want violence to bring you the justice you want. Today you shout my name in glory but tomorrow you will scream my name in anger. You will want my blood to be shed because it will prove you were right about me all along. That I was a fraud; I was a fake; I was the son of the devil. If I’m dead, then you will believe that everything I ever said was false and you will feel justified in not obeying what I’ve taught. You can go back to the life you were living because I don’t have the power to save myself. And if I can’t save myself, then how on earth can I ever save you. So yeah, go back to your fields, to your nets, to your tax booths. I don’t blame you.
You thought God was like Caesar-strong, powerful, calculating. But instead, you will see me as powerless, suffering, and wounded. How can God be like that? How can you put your trust in a God who weeps; a God who bleeds; a God who is easily mocked.
But that’s what you need to see. You have distanced yourself from blame and feel vindicated for your choices because you are not part of the Roman Empire; you are not the villain. You are not the one who is going to hammer the nails into my hands and feet. It will be the Roman Empire who does that. You are just a bystander. Watching the spectacle. Do you not see the inhumanity of the cross? Do you not recoil at the sight of men dying slowly, exposed and shamed? Why do you watch? Do you not know that you are participating by saying and doing nothing? Who will speak for me? Who will stand up and say, ‘Enough of this! He is my King!’ No one will. For that reason, you need to see my blood and hear my cries – because maybe then you will know that human hands are capable of killing God. For if you are capable of bruising God, what else are you capable of? Maybe, you will understand the power you truly hold and instead of using it for harm, you will use it for good.
My death is coming and I’m not sure I’m ready. I want to believe you will not hand me over to the authorities and sell me out for cheap pieces of silver. I want to believe you will walk with me through these dark moments. I want to believe we are friends and we’re in this together – through the good and the bad.
But, like the damned, I will not wait for hope, instead, I will await a sentence I do not deserve. It is my Father’s will I do this because it is our will to show you what love is like. Love can be lynched, mobbed, stoned, crucified, and executed, but it cannot be erased. You worship the lions of this world, the ones who conquer and promise prosperity. They have won your hearts. But maybe, you’ll learn the way of the lamb. And maybe then, you’ll know how powerful love truly is.”