Escape From Darkness – A Palm Sunday essay of Hope & Encouragement

What do you think of when you think of the word “wilderness”? The first syllable ‘wild’ is what jumps out to me. Untamable like the weeds in my garden sometime! Or in biblical reference, I think of the forty years the Israelites in the Holy Bible book of Exodus wandered trying to find their way, first under the leadership of Moses and later Joshua, from their bondage in Egypt to God’s Promised Land of freedom and abundance.

Few of us like darkness unless there is some source of light so we can gauge what progress we are making toward our destination. I personally don’t like to drive at night, but some people do. However, those who do are depending on their headlights to keep them safe and on the right road.

The right road for Rabbi (or teacher) Jesus was the Jerusalem road as the people waved palm branches, spread their cloaks along the way and shouted “Hosanna!” They perceived that He was coming as a political savior—one who would free them from their subjugation to Rome.

While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the religious observance of the Jewish Passover with His disciples, He continued to teach and at one point went into the temple. He was angered by what He saw: the buying and selling of goats, sheep, and doves to be used as blood sacrifices for the people’s sins. He was so irate he flipped over the tables in the courtyard and rebuked those participating in such activity. He said, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” (The Holy Bible, Matthew 21:12 New International Version, Copyright 2011)

All of us in our houses of worship need to make sure our place of worship is “called a house of prayer.” Let us include prayers of giving thanks. Prayers confessing our transgressions and asking for forgiveness. And prayers asking for direction in our lives.

Reflecting on Jesus’ final days on earth takes us one step closer to the Suffering Savior who becomes the ultimate blood sacrifice for the sins of all who believe. He is beyond the Baby in Bethlehem’s  manger. Beyond the twelve-year-old child amazing the teachers in the Jewish synagogue. Beyond the thirty-three-year-old crucified and risen from the dead.

This Suffering Servant becomes our Good News and our escape from the darkness of the wilderness into the Light of the dawn.

This idea is beautifully expressed in the following words, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 [pronounced second Corinthians] The Holy Bible NIV, Copyright 2011.

Here is a prayer of reconciliation I’ve written for all those who feel the need to have a personal relationship with God through this Jesus Christ:

God, I want to know You through the Jesus who lived on this earth, became a blood sacrifice for all my mistakes, and now lives in heaven but can also live in my life and in my heart. I admit my imperfect life. I ask forgiveness. I ask for direction to get on the road to heaven. And I ask that You bring into my life a fellowship of like-believers where I can learn more about You and how to serve You. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit I humbly pray. Amen

An Essay of Hope and Encouragement
Connie Carlisle Polley, 2023

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