- Religion and Philosophy
Bigging Up Jesus On Palm Sunday
Bigging Up Jesus On Palm Sunday
This is the day, Palm Sunday, when the Christ rode in on a colt and was proclaimed King: Hosanna in the highest and blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. To my Christian brothers and sisters, take it as a blessing when you are mocked and persecuted for Jesus’ name because we were told so before it happened. There are those of us who have paid the ultimate price and those of us who will pay the ultimate price for believing that Christ is Lord, but to those I say, parroting the Apostle Paul, 'Oh death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory'! We are living in times when there are those who are changing the word of God to fit their particular lifestyle and those who adhere to the traditional wording are deemed haters, fulfilling what the respective Books of Malachi and Isaiah say would happen, whereby the world will call good, evil and evil, good.
Though I was raised in the Christian faith by my grandma, my reverence for Jesus was, at best, lukewarm then. When I came to California, my father wasn't a religious man, but coming to New York and getting acquainted with my birth mother exposed me more to the Christ. I saw Jesus in my mother who would pray in the wee hours of the morn for those she didn't know or take in those who needed a place to stay… with many of them leaving and not coming back to say thank you when they got on their proverbial feet. And when the cynic in me would ask my mother why she did these things for those who were ungrateful, she would answer in a tone of positive arrogance… reminding me that’s what Jesus would have done. When I was running around tom-catting with this and that woman, my mother would chastise me that it was not the Christian thing to do… reminding me of Jesus’ admonition against fornication and adultery – was she hating on me then?
I saw Jesus in Reverend Dempster when I was employed at what was then the second largest hospital in Brooklyn; this man would minister to those suffering from HIV-Aids, while their loved ones abandoned them because of their homosexuality or because of the stigma borne out of ignorance we had then about the disease. Reverend Dempster did not show kindness to these so-called pariahs to garner fame nor did he announce his good deeds to say, look how Mother- Teresa-like I am; he did these deeds because it is what Jesus would have done. Reverend Dempster is in his early eighties and still ministering to those who are prostitutes, homosexuals, gang bangers, telling them that no matter what they have done, Jesus is loved. Incidentally, Reverend Dempster would always remind us that those of us who seem normal are sicker or just as sick spiritually as those who are considered the dregs of society, lest we should be puffed up. Reverend Dempster would be considered a hater today because he does not compromise the Word, not that he is better than anyone, but that he respects the word of God, no matter if engaging in certain behaviors feel good to the flesh. The primacy of God’s words takes precedence though we may struggle in our mortal coil.
In law school, my two Atheist roommates would question me about Jesus… asking why He allowed bad things to happen. I would remind them about the concept of ‘free will’ and that if God could let us hang his only begotten Son on the Cross, ironically for our benefit, who are we to complain? Moreover, no matter how gruesome a person’s death was, if he or she made it into heaven, the pangs suffered during death are of no consequence. Many learned persons have doubted Jesus’ existence because they claim there is no evidence outside the Bible (See Josephus’ writings that are extant); yet they love to quote Shakespeare, Cicero, Alexander, Socrates, Aesop… and Confucius – all of whom they have not seen. Today on Palm Sunday, as my wife’s Jamaican people would say, I 'big up' Jesus, thanking Him for His mercies and grace; and yes, I do so to curry His favor as Lord of lords and soon coming King.