At lunch on Palm Sunday, Bethany asked a really good question. She said, "if Easter week was really a week, what happened to change public opinion of Jesus? How could he go from the hero entering the city one weekend to being crucified the next?" It is a reasonable question, and one to which, I am sure, many pages of theological literature have been devoted. I can't pretend to answer that (maybe there is a book in there some where even), but one thought came to me that seems relevant to our current cultural climate: Disappointment.
Let me explain. The hope for Messiah at the time of Jesus was incredibly political. People were hoping for political deliverance from Rome. They were focused on their current and difficult circumstances. Over and over, Jesus rebuffs their push to make him a political leader. His message of the Kingdom of Heaven went beyond their desires for present deliverance but had to leave the question in some people's minds, "that's all great, but how do we handle this current political turmoil and strife?" There had to be some tension built up as Jesus continued to do what he was sent to do and not what they people wanted him to do.
I don't pretend to think that this is the whole answer to the question, but it is has some interesting connections to us today. As we have traveled, politics seems to be a consistent topic of conversation. In a twist of life mirroring art (if you can call the 2004 comedy Napoleon Dynamite art), political candidates seem to say Napoleon's friend Pedro's line "If you vote for me, your wildest dreams will come true." Our politicians must position themselves as a savior or deliverer. It makes me ask the question, "what am I trying to get out of this relationship?"
Jesus poses that question in different words, "Who do you say that I am?" What are we looking for here? What sort of trust, what sort of salvation? I am not trying to argue for a specific candidate or political system, but I do want to pose the question: where do we put our hope? Are we hoping for the right man or woman in the right chair at the right time? If we get the right laws in place, then what?
We need to see the world through eternal eyes and see that our hope is in Christ. Jesus' work on the cross had implications for the Jews living under Roman occupation but wasn't limited to them. It fit into a greater context. Not that we shouldn't be politically engaged...please vote your consicence and think and engage. Just remember that we are all fallen humans trying to live in a fallen world. We have one savior and one salvation, and that is Christ.