Toorak Uniting Church

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Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem

Luke 19: 28 – 40     Philippians 2: 5 – 11
Rev. Anneke Oppewal
9:00 am, 1 April 2007

What is the connection between the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and Paige’s baptism? What do you think? Is there a connection?

I think there is and I will tell you why:

When Jesus enters Jerusalem riding his donkey he is on his way to suffering and death. He is going to go under in a sea of suffering and death. He is on his way to Golgotha where 3 crosses will be erected with him nailed to one, dying a very slow and horrible death, leaving his family and friends in despair and deep sadness over his death. They had expected different and far greater things than that.

On the third day however some of his female disciples will meet him outside the tomb and later on his male friends will also testify that they have seen him and spoken to him. God’s love for him, so his friends discover at Easter, proves to be stronger than death, stronger than despair, and opens up a new and unexpected future where there was, according to human expectations and conceptions, none possible.

Jesus rises to a new and altogether different life, inviting his disciples to go out and give shape to that life in the world as servants and imitators of the life he has lived among them and commands them to baptize anybody who wants to be part of that movement from then on.

Paul, some 40 years later, describes baptism as a dying and rising with Christ, as a symbolic re-enactment of what happened to Christ when he went under, was drowned in the violence and deadly forces of the world and God raised him up to a new and altogether different way of life.

When we baptize Paige we take her through that ritual, symbolic re-enactment as millions of others have done before her. She so becomes part of the movement of Christ carrying the good news that however bad and desperate it gets in life, God does not let go and cares for his people with a power that is stronger even than death.
When we baptize Paige we say: She belongs to that family of people now that knows how tough life can be, but who also know that it can never be tougher than the power of God can reach out to and heal.
And she is invited to join with those who want to follow in the footsteps of Christ and live their lives as he did his because they believe it is only in that way that life is worth living. Where people love and serve and don’t count the cost but trust that somehow God will see them through and make miracles of life and renewal happen through them.

© Rev. Anneke Oppewal, 2007

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