April 6, 2009 - Monday of Holy Week

Today’s Reading: St. John 12:1-23

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 9:1-28; Hebrews 2:1-18

The Pharisees said to one another, ‘You see you have accomplished nothing. See the whole world has gone after Him.’” (St. John 12:19)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. That’s envy right there! That’s how the Pharisees react to King Jesus riding into Jerusalem: Everyone is following Him! He’s killing our church attendance!

The Pharisees decide that they have to put the rabble-rousing rabbi from Nazareth in the grave. While they are at it, they’d like to put His buddy, Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, back there, too.

Are you shocked by the ferocity of their reaction? You shouldn’t be. You should expect the same ferocity against you!

You want to be accepted by those around you. Who doesn’t want to feel good about their tolerance of other peoples’ beliefs? They can have their religion, and I can have mine. I won’t harm them; they won’t harm me. Right?

Today’s Gospel teaches us that this is a myth. The world won’t let you worship Jesus in peace. Oh, they may for a bit, but not for long. It’ll end with you being mocked, ridiculed, or worse! You know, like Jesus.

Jesus alone is your salvation. You are not saved by what you do, but by receiving Jesus’ sufferings and death. This Holy Monday, fast from thinking that you can tolerate any other message of salvation. The cost is too great--your eternal life is at stake!

All you have to do is look at what the Pharisees did to Jesus. In a few days, they will turn the same adoring crowd against Jesus. They will beat Him, mock Him, spit on Him, and drag Him to Pilate to be crucified.

Yet, this is why He came. He came to be snuffed out by the Pharisees--to die for the sins of the world and to rise again on the third day. By dying, Jesus saves the whole world from the wrath and punishment of Almighty God. His resurrection is your justification, your being declared righteous before God. He dies and you get forgiveness. He rises, you get life! That’s the Gospel!

Cling to this Gospel for dear life. Trust Jesus to raise even you from the dead. Believe that He has taken your sins away. Don’t despair or shy away from what He has done for you.

The world can’t harm you. Don’t fear them. The most the world can do is kill you like they killed Jesus. And He rose from the dead. You will rise, too, in Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weaknesses we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Collect for Holy Monday)