Palm Sunday ushers in the commemoration of the most amazing reality that ever occurred on earth—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the holiest week each year in the life of a Christian. Easter Sunday often triples church attendance. Yet, the next week the crowds don’t return.
How does that happen? How does the greatest spiritual truth yield so little transformation and devotion? It happens the same way that it happened during Holy Week. Not much has changed in the hearts of men. You will notice on Holy Week the crowds hailed Jesus as the promised Messiah. They thronged to the Mount of Olives and formed a procession, treating Him like royalty. This is much like the churches which will be filled to capacity on Easter morning. Easter draws the attention of the evening news and changes programing on Sundays from the usual sporting coverage to a religious movie or two. The attention will fade away, and we will all go back to our empty way of life.
Only five days after welcoming Jesus as the Messiah, crowds called for the crucifixion of Jesus. They are mad at Jesus because He did not turn out to be the God they wanted Him to be. They wanted Him to be what they thought He should be. They have no idea that they were in need of a Savior who can take away the entire sin of the whole world in order to be the God they said they wanted.
An empty life, empty of the love of God and the power of the cross, is a much easier life to live. It comes with perks for sure. The emptiness is disguised while we are working toward a goal, building a house, planning for a journey, getting to the next level at work. We don’t feel empty; but if we are not full spiritually, we are empty.
We were created to be full of the fullness of Christ. Ephesian 4:11-13 explains:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
How does an empty way of life seem so fulfilling? Why do so many come at Easter and leave without longing for less emptiness and more fullness in their lives?
Empty lives run deep. I Peter 1:18 says:
Or you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors.
Empty lives are handed down to us. We come into a world that has become comfortable with emptiness. It is our natural way of life. Unless we are radically changed by the holiness of holy week, we will continue to do our church life in an empty way.
Fullness of Christ is the fullness of hearing and obeying the word of God. You continue to participate in an empty life when you are not aware of God’s love and the gift of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the fullest life possible and shows us how to live fully as well. He calls us to a life of fullness by becoming fully in touch with God’s holiness and His holy work in our lives. Let’s pray that we show our guests this Easter the difference between an empty life and one that is full of God’s love. Let’s make sure that when we come back to church the first Sunday after Easter we are living a fuller, holier life than the year before.
May you enter a joyful and meaningful Holy Week.