In our modern world, marches, demonstrations, protests, rallies, and riots have become quite common. Some have been very meaningful and have resulted in much needed change at various levels. Others, perhaps, have been extremely petty. Sometimes the damage done - destruction of property, loss of life, psychological damage - is much greater than the good accomplished.
Leaders may plead for peaceful demonstrations, but those peaceful protests often turn violent, with buildings and vehicles destroyed and personal injury and death to innocent individuals.
Marches in Washington and demonstrations all across America quickly come to mind. Other significant protests and rallies live in the memory of anyone who was around when they occurred in places like Berlin, Paris, Beijing, and many cities throughout the Middle East. The locations are too many to name.
The most noteworthy march, followed by a week of unparalleled events, occurred in the capitol city of an ancient country around two millennia ago. The march was more like a parade; we now remember that day as Palm Sunday. In the week that followed his entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God and demonstrated his power and authority.
It started off as a peaceful demonstration, with mostly teaching and preaching, interspersed with a touch of violence when he disrupted the money changers in the Temple and chased them out of his Father’s house of worship. When, in an upper room Passover setting, he explained to his followers that all of this would end with his death, they argued with their leader.
One of his disciples, in the greatest act of betrayal, sold him to his enemies for a paltry payment of 30 coins. This transaction was followed by a suicide.
Another of his followers attempted to murder one of the mob that came to arrest Jesus. Later, that disciple denied Christ in cowardice, but finally repented.
Eventually, the Prince of Peace demonstrated the greatest love the world has ever seen, when he willingly, innocently, laid down his life and died for the sins of the world. The cross was the greatest example of a peaceful demonstration that ended in the death of the least deserving for an undeserving world of sinners, including you and me. The just for the unjust. The perfect Son of God took our place.
He could have called 12 legions of angels to deliver him, but he chose to suffer in our place.
Recently I saw a couple carrying signs in a crowded street. His sign read: “YOUR LIFE MATTERS!” Indeed the life of every person on planet earth - no matter what race, nationality, sex, age, or intellect - the life of everyone mattered enough to God to send his one and only Son to make that sacrifice.
Her sign stated: “We love you!” The “we” included God as the primary one; He’s the one who IS love.
The week that started with the Messiah riding into town on a donkey became the same week Good Friday occurred, and, because of his great love for us, he gave up his life so that we could be with him when he returns on a white horse to set up his kingdom.
Steve Playl, columnist, college instructor, retired pastor, and chaplain, may be reached at email@example.com