God’s Mask

green fern plant

Year C – Palm Sunday | Isa 50:4-9a; Psa 118:1-2, 19-29; Phil 2:5-11; Lk 23:1-49

Season 2, Episode 19

On Palm Sunday, we recognise that event where multitudes proclaimed Christ as King just days before demanding his crucifixion. We celebrate the journey of Jesus taking him from his years of public service to this point in history. And we celebrate the path he chose, a path of obedience.

With the lens of hindsight, we now understand Jesus’ ministry was focused on making the Father visible and present. Jesus attempted to move the mask people see when looking for God. Isaiah explained Jesus did that by servitude. The Servant is a teacher only because he listened to God first and conveyed all he learned. In humility, he removed himself from the view so that we see only God.

Psalm 118 sings of the rejected stone becoming the chief cornerstone. It calls for a blessing on one who comes in the Lord’s name. With hindsight, we see Jesus in those verses. We see his selfless work of obedience. We give thanks to God and extol God for Jesus removed the mask hiding his presence from us. When we see Jesus, we see God.

The passage from Philippians amplifies the shout of Jesus for us to see the Father. The thought-provoking message connects Jesus’ obedience with his divinity. Though his path led to death on a cross, yet we bring glory to God the Father when we confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord.

Now we come to Luke’s account of the sham trial and unjust execution of Jesus. We see many who had opportunity to embrace the truth about Jesus. The Jewish elders rejected him. Pilate dismissed him. Herod played with him. The tears of Jesus’ followers clouded their vision to see judgement was being passed on Jerusalem when their King was condemned. The crowd jeered him.

The path of Jesus led to the cross but it was a path of obedience. It was the Way that led us to see the Father. It was the means by which we can now worship God in spirit and in truth. God does not hide behind a mask. God’s face shines brightly through the life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Published by St Johns Papatoetoe

Presbyterian Church, Hunters Corner, Papatoetoe, Auckland, New Zealand belonging to Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ).

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