Revue: Shadows Beneath the Palms

© Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

©2018 Lynn Abbott

Without a doubt, crowds can be fickle…

The workplace?  Fragile.

Friendships? Variable.

Relationships?  Tenuous.

Popularity?  Fleeting.

We learn early.  Yet, betrayal nevertheless blindsides us again and again throughout our lives.

There is always that one: the gossip, the slanderer, the jealous, the back-stabber, and yes, the bully…one who wishes to tear down rather than build up…

Sometimes, the pain comes from places we least expect.  We bleed emotionally from unanticipated blows.

Maybe, you’ve been there.  Perhaps, you walk this road today.  You began with high hopes; your dreams dashed in the face of injustice.

There is One who understands.  Scripture tells us that our Great High Priest sympathizes with our pain.  Yes, God-incarnate walked such a road.

For the uninformed eye-witness, such events likely seemed outside the realm of possibility.

After all, Christ’s popularity was undeniable.

If there were any doubt of it, His entry into Jerusalem prior to Passover demonstrated the enormity of His influence.

More than that, on that memorable Sunday, Christ unquestionably identified himself as Israel’s Messiah.  He sent his disciples to find a donkey colt, and He rode the colt into Jerusalem.

In this way, He fulfilled the Zechariah’s prophecy, “Fear no, daughter of Zion’ Behold you King comes sitting on a Donkey’s colt,” (Zechariah 9:9).

His manner of entry, thus,  declared His kingship.  Messiah had entered the capital city.

The crowds recognized His claim and met Him with palm branches.  Expectations soared.  The people worshiped and cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9).

Their words echoed the prophecy of Zechariah; their actions reflected the Messianic passage in Psalm 118:22-26.

Christ’s entry into Jerusalem prior to Passover demonstrated the enormity of His popularity and influence.

But on that Sunday road lined with palm branches, Christ did more than claim His identity as Messiah.

He boldly repeated His claim to be God.

Of course, Christ had previously claimed His deity in no uncertain terms.

When He said that Abraham had rejoiced to see His day, the Jews questioned His claim:  “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” (John 8:57).

His response had rocked the Jewish community.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM'” (John 8:58).

The people understood what many today do not.  You see, “I AM” was the name that God told Moses to use for God when Moses presented himself to the children of Israel as their leader.

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you,'” (Exodus 3:14).

The name “I AM” was rendered YHWH or Yahweh.  In other words, Christ called Himself “Yahweh.”

And the people tried to stone Him for blasphemy.

“Once burned, twice as careful,” most of us say. The disciples had failed in their attempts to dissuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem.

I’m sure the twelve would have preferred it if Jesus had not ruffled the feathers of the jealous leadership.

But prior to His mock trial on Thursday, Jesus would not remain silent.

He boldly proclaimed the Truth: “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me.  And he who behold Me beholds the One who sent Me. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness,” (John 12:44-46).

What a difference a week makes!  On Sunday, rejoicing crowds welcomed Jesus as He entered Jerusalem.

Yet, during Passover, a week that symbolically pointed to Christ, the Passover Lamb whose blood marked the doorposts of homes saved  from  God’s judgment, Jesus spoke of His sacrificial and substitutionary death, (John 13: 27-33).

His words did not match the people’s expectations.  And their grumbling began.  Those who opposed Christ seized every opportunity to undermine His claims.

The continual criticism took its toll. Judas, one of the twelve Jesus entrusted with His teaching and heart, turned against the Savior.

What a difference a week makes!

Yeah, that’s right. Judas embodied the fickle nature of the people.  Disappointed that Christ had not overthrown Rome, a disillusioned Judas led the Roman guard and Jewish officers to Christ in Gethsemane.

There, in that quiet sanctuary after hours of prayer, Christ was betrayed.

And shadows began to grow as history’s darkest hour approached.

Jesus had predicted the shift that loomed on the horizon: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13).

And on Friday just 5 days after His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, our Savior carried the instrument of torture and death–the cross–down the city streets to that hill of infamy outside the city gates.

All seemed dark that Friday afternoon before the Passover Seder.

Christ, the lamb of God, sacrificed His life on the cross.   It seemed a hopeless business.

Does Christ understand the pain of rejection?  Does He know how you or I feel when someone back-stabs or betrays us?

Yes.  A thousand times over.

As the writer of the book of Hebrews says, ‘For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin…’ (Hebrews 4:15).

And that Passover Friday was dark. Oh so dark.

But Sunday was coming…

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed,” ~Isaiah 53:5

59 thoughts on “Revue: Shadows Beneath the Palms

    • Aww… thank you with all my heart for your extremely kind words and encouragement! It means the world to me. It is so easy to be eloquent, though, when describing our wonderful Savior! God bless you greatly! 🙂

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  1. So thankful for a Savior who walked the hard road for me, and is a high priest who understands my weaknesses and loves me despite myself. Can’t wait to read the rest of the story. God bless your week.

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    • Thank you so much for your kind comment! And yes! I’ve heard S.M. Lockridge’s message. What’s interesting is that S.M. Lockridge isn’t the only one who has used that phrase, “but Sunday’s comin’.” Back in the 1980s, Tony Campolo also used it in a message… And I’ve heard it used by others over the years as well. I don’t know who the original preacher was that first popularized the phrase… but it has long been a part of the preaching tradition here in the U.S. Isn’t that a fun piece of preaching trivia? 🙂 I hope your Resurrection Day is a blessed one as well! Your blog truly blesses me!

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  2. I’m always moved to consider how He came a humble king…on a donkey. How in one week the opinion of the crowd changed…from making him king to crucifying Him. Our Savior’s last week is the Greatest Story ever told…

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  3. “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me.” Dear Lynn, These words remind me that everything we do should be pointing the way to God’s Glory. This is such a powerful post. There is no pain so deep and confusing as the betrayal by someone you love. But yes, our Beloved Savior understands our broken hearts and brings new life and healing. Thank you for setting the tone for this precious week ahead. And speaking of beloved, Thank you for my Liebster. I had fun writing it. You are precious.

    Love, Deb

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  4. Once you give your life to Christ, you must experience the peculiar pain of betrayal and rejection. As a sinner you do not feel this pain because your heart is hardened by sin. Once you become a citizen of the Kingdom of God, love becomes the way of life. Love is open to be wounded. Only love can be betrayed. Only love can be grieved. The risk to be rejected, to be envied and to be wounded by the enemies of love is very high. The devil tempts your friends to betray you for a reward. Few resist this unholy bribe. This ‘grief to glory’ life style is called ‘the royal way of the cross’. Personally, I tried to avoid rejection but it is not possible. It comes from the most unexpected places. The pain is always raw because the heart is more tender. With time, I have discovered, that the pain is still great but the length of the pain is getting shorter. This is because now, in the midst of the pain, I have now learned to ignore it and seek my Lord Jesus Christ. I find Him in the midst of pain more than in celebrations. By the grace of God, I do not seek pain, but I use it well. “It is all for Your glory Lord; and even for my good! I worship You forever!”

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  5. Amen, Lynn! Christ indeed knows our pains and sufferings, because He experienced them to a far greater degree than we do. You did an excellent job capturing the mood of that final week leading up to the glorious resurrection. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Holy Week!

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  6. Thank you.

    Much of the four Gospels is about that last week, but none of them have much to say about the day after the cross or the day before the empty tomb. That dark Friday Jesus was put in Joseph’s Tomb, and Saturday there He remained. Until Sunday.

    On Saturdays we learn to pray and wait for God.

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  7. Amen on “but Sunday was coming …” Thank you Lynn for another beautiful and earthy look at reality, from the dark side and the glorious new life side. A blessed and joyous Easter season to you and yours and all your readers!

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  8. I’ll never get tired of reading about what Jesus Christ endured for you and me! In fact, even now I’m listening to a powerful song called, “It’s through the Blood.” What a difference a week makes! Indeed! Yes, He suffered rejection by the people who had so recently acclaimed Him as their King. He was stripped, beaten beyond recognition, and hung in shame upon a cross. But without the shedding of His blood we could not know God as our Father. Thank God for His great love that caused Him to give His only Son. Thank God for the Son who gave Himself! Thank you, dear Lynn, for drawing our attention to our Lord.

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  9. I love how you end this, Lynn. “But Sunday was coming…” Yes! Sometimes it’s so easy to dwell in the gloomy darkness and wonder if Jesus is still dead. But what a glorious day when He arose again forevermore! May we truly believe it deep within our hearts! Have a joyous Easter! Love and hugs to you!

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful and kind comment, dear Trudy! Yes, you are so right. It’s easy when we are in the midst of dark days to forget that Christ has the victory and that hope is on the horizon. Let me say a hearty “Amen” to your beautiful words! May you have a blessed Easter as well, Trudy! God bless you big time! Love and hugs right back!! ❤ ❤

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  10. Thanks for your post Lynn…….wanted to wish you a wonderful Easter. And may we honor HIM on Good Friday and remember HIS sacrifice on the Cross for our sins. Let us rejoice on Sunday with glorious songs and thanksgiving! HE HAS RISEN!

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  11. Pingback: Behold the Lamb ~ Psalm 69 | The Abundant Heart

    • Oh, thank you with all my heart for referencing my post, dear Angela! What a blessing you and your friendship are! And what a beautiful overview of Messianic prophecy your post is! Thank you with all my heart! ❤ ❤

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  12. Amen! I love how you relate the week of Christ to our own struggles, even having a bad week ourselves. Of course no one can relate to the horrors our Lord lived. It’s truly amazing what He did for us. I feel grateful but so undeserving.

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    • Yes, not one of us can fully grasp what He suffered, but in knowing that He suffered, we also have the assurance that there is nothing that we may suffer that He cannot understand …I’m so grateful for that as well as for the Grace of God that Christ’s suffering opened for me. Thank you so much for your beautiful encouragement, dear Marcie! Love you much! Have a blessed Good Friday, my dear friend! ❤ ❤

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