Summary: Year C. Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday April 8th, 2001

Year C.

Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday April 8th, 2001

Luke 23:1-49

Lord of the Lake Lutheran Church

The Rev. Jerry Morrissey, Esq., Pastor


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Heavenly Father empower each of us here at Lord of the Lake Lutheran Church to develop the proper character traits in your eyes and from your perspective. Amen.

Title: “All the characters in this play.”

All the characters in this “play”- even though it is really a “work,” the work of Christ and serious work at that- represent a truth or falsehood, larger than themselves. All the opponents of Jesus represent impulses, attitudes and behaviors in all of us- disciples or not. All the proponents of Jesus represent attitudes and traits we are to emulate and imitate with Christ as and at the center. This was the final battle between good and evil, God and the devil. The battle has been won in Christ, who is now reigning in heaven. Yet, it still goes on. On earth there is this time lag or time warp between what is true in eternity and what it not yet through on earth. Thus, for Luke, there is more to come. He must tell of the resurrection and then, in Acts, of the giving of Christ’s Spirit to ensure total victory. Because we are all responsible for our attitudes and actions- even though they might fit into God’s plan- we are challenged to either accept God’s help and grace or refuse it. God knows we cannot do this alone or on our own power, so he entered into our humanity to do for us and with us what we cannot do for ourselves and without him. The story of the Passion lays it all out, all the positive and negative responses to God’s overture and challenges us to choose, to adopt the eternal attitude of Christ.

Each of the characters in this drama represents one or more “attitudes,” standpoints, perspectives, outlooks. They are either opposed to the “attitudes” of Christ or consonant with and expressive of them. Each character offers a picture to reflect upon, to compare and contrast our own attitudes, to see how closely we identify with Christ or with those attitudes which are inimical to him. Let us contrast and compare each one with Christ.

First Judas, the evangelists were not psychoanalysts. We do well to avoid imposing motives on people’s behavior that are not there. However, as we put the scanty data together from all four evangelists we get an idea of the cluster of attitudes that drove Judas to treachery. As a member of the Zealots, a political movement advocating violent overthrow of Rome, he would be avid in his belief that a Messiah must take any and all means to resist the enemy, Rome and all she represents. Jesus would have been a great disappointment to Judas, what with his non-violent approach. Furthermore, Judas seems to have helped himself to the common kitty for whatever reasons. Combine that with selling out Jesus for a mere pittance and we can conclude that he had an attitude towards money that was not healthy. Political positions or attitudes alone can motivate betrayal of Christ’s principles, but add greed to the mix and the chances are increased significantly. Jesus was apolitical and money was seen as a means to an end, not an end or a god in itself. There is a Judas in all of us. Also, I believe Judas believe that Jesus was the Son of the Living God, and Judas thought he could force God’s hand by forcing Jesus to bring down legions of angels to defeat Roman and win back the holy land for the followers of Jesus and Judas as the cause of it would believe he deserved a key position in the new Kingdom he forced Jesus to set up.

The second would be the Disciples; they were not as far from Judas’ attitude toward Christ as one might think. They, too, expected a different Messiah than the one who showed up. They were looking to a military victor, using violence and force, and a political ruler to “save” them. Thus, they argued over their rank in the pecking order of importance. They surely represent what happens to those who work for the “boss.” They are as greedy of their positions, perquisites, powers, etc. as is Judas, only less obvious about it until they are challenged. Then, the truth comes out. Christ’s attitude toward power, position and ambition was to channel those drives into works of service for others. There is such a thing as “rank” before God, but it is determined by something other than “office” or “officer.” They were to be servants not overlords. Oddly, the word “bishop” means “overseer,” a term for a shepherd or for a despot. There is an overlord in all of us.

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