An Unexpected Entry
What do we think of when we think about conquering heroes?
- General MacArthur saying, “I shall return!”
- John Paul Jones telling the British, “I have not yet begun to fight.”
- Teddy Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill.
- Allied tanks rolling into Berlin during the final days of World War II and blowing the swastika off the top of a Reichstag building.
Whatever we think of, it often has the recollection of strength or power! It seems that there is always some show of force accompanying a conquering hero. The hero comes riding in on a tank. In days gone by, the conquering hero rode in on a mighty stallion or in a gilded chariot. Often there is a sense of relief, if the conqueror is a liberator. If freedom from oppression is the goal, there is a sense of jubilation.
I say all this not as a history lesson, but rather as a means of understanding the beginning of a strange week nearly 2000 years ago. That week was the most important week in human history. So much attention is given to Christmas but when you look at the N.T., Xmas only captures a couple of chapters in the Gospels, while the last week of Jesus’ life covers some 28 chapters. The whole of the Gospels is story after story building up to this all-important week.
Don’t get me wrong; Christmas is wonderful… commemorating the birth of a baby is sweet. But, if it weren’t for Easter, and the events leading up to that point, Christmas would lose its meaning. Paul said, “But we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23). He did not say, “We preach Christ born in a stable.” The next seven days are the most important days to Christians all around the world. And it all started as Jesus was headed to Jerusalem for the Passover feast.