Does everyone here know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? I don’t mean the one written by The Brothers Grimm. I mean the real story. There is a movie out there called Hoodwinked and it is awesome. It retells the original story from the perspective of all these different characters: Red, Lumberjack, Wolf, Granny, and so on. It becomes a who-done-it and it really adds new life to a story we know so well.
As I began to prepare for this week’s message. I found myself asking, “Whose perspective should I preach from?” That is when the whole Hoodwinked thing came to mind.
I have heard this passage preached and taught many times in my life. I’m guessing you have, too. And I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of perspectives and lessons. What are some of the messages you remember about hearing with this message? What are some of the things that stand out to you in this passage?
I know that I have heard this story taught from many different perspectives: Jesus, disciples, crowds, and even the donkey. I think it is good to see a passage from many viewpoints—it allows the passage to be full, able to give us depth.
As my spirit sought out the Holy Spirit’s guidance, this passage began to percolate in a particular direction. I felt as if the Spirit was saying, “Despite the perspective, the Truth remains.” Despite the perspective, the capital T Truth remains. Hmmm. What does that mean?
It means that even though the palm wavers had a certain view of Jesus—the way they saw him—it may not have been the Truth. It means that even though the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law had a certain view of Jesus—the way they understood him—it may not have been the Truth. It means that even though the Disciples had a certain view of Jesus—the way they felt about him—it may not have been the Truth.
What these fallible human beings saw, believed, and felt may not have been the Truth. What these fallible human beings saw, believed, and felt was not the Truth. The palm wavers saw a warrior king who would crush the oppressors, but the Truth was that Jesus was a suffering king who would conquer by being crushed. The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law believed a false prophet had come to remove God’s Law from the heart of Judah, but the Truth was that Jesus had come to place the Father’s Law of Love into their hearts by dwelling there. The disciples believed that Jesus was God’s teacher of Truth, the Messiah, but the Truth was that Jesus was God, Himself, coming to teach His People, Himself.
Friends, this Holy Week, honestly take the time to wrestle with this: How do I see Jesus? How do I understand Jesus? How do I believe Jesus? So many times, we go through the motions of our lives assuming that we are seeing, understanding, and believing everything just A-OK fine. And we have missed God’s Truth despite it being right there in front of us. How often have I awoken to the Truth right before my eyes…beckoning me to see?
When we read Scripture and see the Bible characters acting like idiots—they seem so blind!—and yet, if someone could read the stories of our own lives, how often would they say, “How blind can you be, Chad?!”
A couple of years ago, my good friends John, Merle, and I got into a discussion over the greatest moment in Jesus’ life. (I know, it is a futile exercise! And if you don’t know John and Merle and their “discussions”…well, let’s just say its “lively” and when Dan or I get involved it just adds to the “fun.”) I cannot for the life of me remember Merle’s moment for Jesus…why…because Merle was on the same page or close to the same page as me and it was acceptable. But, John! John’s whacked…he sees things from a different perspective! And I remember John saying that this event—Jesus riding into Jerusalem—was Jesus’ greatest moment. Humph! I know I smiled because I thought he was joking—and then John gave me his serious face—how in the world could you get it so wrong, John.
Perspectives. People. You know what…I’m not saying John is right (God help us all). But I will say this: I was wrong to see this as a lesser moment in the life of Jesus and its importance in eternity. The King of Kings is crowned Messiah and enters Jerusalem as prophecy said he would! And from any view—any perspective—the Truth was that God Amongst Us was crowned Messiah and came to save the world because He loved the world.
Unlike Little Red Riding Hood, the story of God’s Love is real and of eternal significance. But that does not mean we bring any better perspectives to God’s Truth! We need to allow the Spirit to teach us: what we see, understand, and believe. Then we will better know Truth: Christ in Our Midst.
Lord, have mercy on us! Help us to see, understand, and believe through your Spirit rather than relying on these old eyes, these old minds, and these old spirits. Help us to honestly and humbly seek you while we have life. Maranatha, Lord, Come. Amen.