On Palm Sunday Hosanna chant cheered Christ

Lunminthang Haokip *

SCRIPTURAL ROAD MAP: I wasn't a wolf in sheep's clothing. I was a wolf which didn't bother to put on a sheep's clothing. Now, I am a tired and retired civil servant, by the Lord's grace. It's my desire to be 're-tyred' after retirement from IAS to serve the LORD in a higher 2.0 IAS (In Almighty's Service).

I came to know about my calling when God showed me 2 Chro 29:11, "My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him and serve Him, to minister before Him and to burn incense."

After my conversion in 1994, God gave me many promises that in totality, charted out a path I should take as a part-time preacher anchored to public service. It was a feeling of hope and happiness to learn that "the Lord has been my shield and exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1)." Even playing a small obscure part in a supporting role in God's vineyard is an 'exceeding great reward' in itself.

A REVERSAL IN PERCEPTION: I was good from far but far from good. Accepting Jesus as my Lord and personal Saviour changed my take on life. I launched out into middle level bureaucracy as SDC. I hoped that conversion would make SDC 'Self-Denying Crusader.' After a change of heart, the Lord taught me how to make MCS 'Mortified for Christ's sake.' And my notional induction into IAS (I Am Saved) happened in 1994.

In Feb, 2021, my God fulfilled His promise in 2 Chro 29:11. In Feb, 2021, I was ordained as an ECA Upa (Ordained Elder). In 1994, immediately after my conversion, I developed cold feet when I was asked to share the Word of God. Like the colt Lord Jesus asked His disciples to untie, I prayed that the Spirit may ride on me and saddle upon my stiff nerves.

After preaching practices inside the motor car in which I was the lone rider, the Lord taught me how to begin and call for verdict in a sermon.

CHRIST WANTS TO USE YOU: Luke 19:29-31, "As He approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, saying to them," Verse 30, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here." Verse 31, "If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' The statement presupposes the absolute authority of Jesus over any object of creation, including animals.

We too are social animals; and the masterpiece of His creation. We see around us as to how men of woman-born are being raised and lifted up from their banal subsistence to phenomenal levels of prominence and limelight when they respond with abs obedience to the call of the Lord. A man chastened and mentored by the Word of God, indeed, becomes 'a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).'

BE A VALUE-ADDED PERSON: Before the Word of God activates a soul, he is tied tight to sin. Repentance and confession of sin untie the burden of his bondage. When Jesus sat upon the ass on Palm Sunday, the 'beast of burden' enjoyed a celebrity animal status. It became a 'value-added' carrier. Accepting Jesus adds on to the intrinsic value of a person. He or she becomes 'wanted' in needy sinners' circle.

A donkey is not known to be an intelligent beast. In Manipuri, 'gadha' is equated with a fool. Left untied, the donkey Jesus rode on could have remained as an obscure 'carrier of heavy goods.' Carrying the sin-load even after Jesus had shown the way to unburden the soul is like a man who refuses to keep his head-load aside even after being given a lift by a passing vehicle. Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11:30)."

SALVATION CAME TO ZACCHAEUS' HOUSE: Zacchaeus was just another tax collector of short stature. Tax collectors, then and now, are never popular with the people. Amidst the crowd, he could not see the Messiah. But he made an effort to clearly see the visiting Son of man. In his zeal to have a clearer view, the midget tax-man climbed up a sycamore fig tree (Luke 19:4).

Meditating upon the Scripture will make us know Jesus better. The extra-mile effort made by Zacchaeus struck a chord with the Christ. He said, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately, I must stay at your house today (Luke 19:5)." Luke 19:6, "So he came down at once and welcomed Him gladly." The climb-down made his spiritual stocks go up. You've got to climb down from your 'respectable status' to meet Jesus.

THE TINA FACTOR: The tax-man was short but his faith was tall. He gladly obeyed like a child. Hospitality coupled with child-like obedience saved his household. "Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3)."

We refuse to humble ourselves like a child, and suffer the sorrow of the paucity of salvation in our homes! What a joy it was that the Lord Himself declared, "This day is salvation come to this house (Luke 19:9)."

Zacchaeus' voluntary confession of sin and guilt earned him eternal life. The TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor is at work even today. The tax collector took a wise sharp turn in knowing Christ personally. His act of meekness got him saved from damnation and paved the way for entry into the world of salvation.

WE ALL ARE SINNERS: Zacchaeus was willing to leave no stone unturned to gain salvation. But the detractors around his neighbourhood left no turn of his unstoned! In the bargain, even Jesus wasn't spared in their slander.

Luke 19:7, "They all murmured, saying, That He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner." What a lopsided observation? We all are sinners. "For that all have sinned ((Rom. 5:12)." Oblivious of their own sins, the detractors were harsh on Zacchaeus.

There are many who don't see themselves as sinners. Therefore they cannot qualify themselves to be in the 'zone of consideration' for divine forgiveness. Outside that zone, sinners cannot repent. They will lament later.

LET US BE SAVED SINNERS: The tax-collector exhibited penitence, knowing he was a sinner in need of being saved. He confessed that he defrauded his subject. A new heart moved him to give back fourfold to who he wronged. Romans 10:10 says, "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

In the spiritual struggle to gain forgiveness of sin, accepting the bitter truth that one is a sinner, is half the battle won. This awakening made Zacchaeus a 'saved' sinner. Hardened hearts remain 'unsaved' sinners! Delays have dangerous ends, it's said. It's more applicable for those eternal optimists who delay their repentance.

SET FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH: The chant of Palm Sunday is Hosanna which means 'Save, I pray.' But there are certain things a sinner has to do so as to come out clean from the condemnation of guilt. Zacchaeus was a worldly publican. In order to meet Jesus, he climbed down from the branch of the tree.

A sinner, in order to become a winner, must climb down from peaks of self-righteousness, political-correctness, worldly-minded-ness, pride, self-importance, fixation to 'what others will think' etc. The fear of death and being burnt eternally in hellfire should belittle all other fleshly entanglements. We can reject the deliverance offered by Jesus at the cross only at our own peril and regret in hell.

CONFESSION OF SIN SETS THE TONE: The fear of possible or near air-crash drove to my broken confession of sin. Hearing the messages of God's servant, Uncle Joshua Daniel, in 1994, brought about a change of mind in me that led to a change of heart. When I repented for and confessed my sins, God 's grace let me know that my sins were forgiven.

What a merciful God we have ? I was on cloud nine as I opened my Bible at Romans 8:1 & 2, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Verse 2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Nothing else has the power to free man from the guilt of sin.

* Lunminthang Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an IAS (Retd)
This article was webcasted on April 01 2023 .

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