Monday, April 2, 2012

perfect storm

In October of 1991, a New England fishing boat, the Andrea Gail, sailed five hundred miles out into the Atlantic. Meanwhile, the weather was changing very rapidly. A cold front moving along the Canadien border sent a strong disturbance through New England, while a large high-pressure system was building over the provinces of south-eastern Canada. This intensified the incoming low-pressure system, producing what locals called ‘The Halloween Nor’easter’. These circumstances alone could have created a strong storm, but then, like throwing gas on a fire, a hurricane coming in from the south Atlantic brought some deadly tropical energy into the mix. It was the makings of a perfect storm. Soon the forces of nature converged on the helpless Andrea Gail, and ferocious winds and huge waves reduced the boat to match sticks. Only a bit of light debris was ever found.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem to begin the last week of his earthly life, He rode right into the middle of a perfect storm. A perfect storm of Jewish leaders, Roman rulers, Israel's expectations, and His own divine destiny all driving him to the cross. The people following him into the city packed with pilgrims for Passover had no idea what fate awaited Him there. They showered Jesus with praise. They waved their palm branches in victory. They chanted “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!"

Behind the scenes, the religious leaders weren't too happy. They got together and said - “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” They say “Look, the whole world has gone after him.”

So they would get Judas to betray Jesus. They would arrest him, falsely accuse him, and condemn him to death. They would get the crowd to yell, “crucify him,” instead of “hosanna.” And they would get the Romans to execute him. He came in peace, but the Romans beat him up anyway. Bruised, bloodied, and beaten to within an inch of his life. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, humble and gentle, riding in as the prince of peace. But his enemies declared war and they attacked him and killed him for it.

He His enemies do their worst to him. He didn't stop the violence done to him. He willingly went to the cross. He took upon Himself all of our sin and guilt and pain. And when darkness covered the earth, it looked like His enemies had won. It looked like Jesus had been defeated. He was beaten, battered, bloodied and buried. Satan and all the powers of evil had to be cheering. They thought they had won.

But then, April Fools! On the third day the stone was rolled away. Light scattered the darkness. Life overcame death. The devil was defeated. Sin was taken away. Evil was overcome. Jesus rose from the dead to defeat sin, death, and the devil once and for all.

And it all started the day Jesus rode town - right into the middle of a perfect storm.

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