vantage point | John 12.17-19
The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” John 12:17-19 | ESV
Back to the impromptu parade. The route was lined with people singing a loud unceasing chorus of his praises – every member of that thronging choir someone who had been there, who had watched with their own eyes as Lazarus was called out of the tomb and he brought him back to life. And their song drew more and more people to welcome him, to welcome the man they heard had performed this astounding sign. The Stict Sect ruling types, taking in this whole frenzied display, threw up their hands towards each other, “Useless! Useless! Look! All your carefully laid plans, for nothing! Look, the world lies prostrate at his feet, ready to do his bidding!” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
Back to sweet aroma and stench; to hand-raising worship by those who saw the miracle that was Lazarus, and hand-wringing worry by the priests who feared the fallout. Same event, same scent, same song, two radically different responses.
Our vantage point so determines our outlook on the outcomes we see unfolding.
And there is the ultimate question for each of us that flows from the familiar ground of this Palm Sunday story: who are we in the story? Are we the children shouting praise in the streets or the religious folk trying to shut them up?
Another excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is perhaps the most fitting way to conclude our journey this week through the streets of Palm Sunday, as we ask where are we in this parade…
In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 The Message
How have people been picking up the sweet scent of Christ rising from your life? What is it that causes this scent to rise naturally from within us?
Lord, let me not miss it as you pass through in my life this week, this month, this year. May I not mindlessly parrot others’ enthusiastic responses, nor hold myself back with skepticism. Help me to see my part and play it well, knowing that you will use whatever I bring to and for you, and so advance your Beauty, your Story, through it. Through Christ.