Summary: God has demonstrated FOR His Son with joy. Instead of demonstrating against things, Christians can demonstrate FOR something - God.
When we speak about demonstrations, we usually talk about showing our view or opinion AGAINST a thing, a person, or an idea. Demonstrations can be a public display that shows others what we believe. Demonstrate can also mean to show evidence of about something.
We hear about demonstrations quite often. We have heard of people who demonstrated against immigration policies in the US. We have heard of many German workers who have demonstrated against their present working conditions. We have also heard of French workers demonstrating against an extension of their work week.
Heike and I participated in a demonstration last week. We walked with others to demonstrate AGAINST a new entrance fee in the beautiful Rhododendron Park in the Botanika Garden in Horne.
In the past, it was free for anyone who wanted to come to the Rhododendron Park and walk. While it may have cost money to visit the Botanika Garden, Rhododendron Park stayed free. Then the politicians wanted to charge a fee to just enter the park, an €8 entrance fee. They wanted to use it to pay for a new restaurant in the park. They wanted to put up a big fence and make everyone go through one main entrance. Needless to say, the people were upset. So a group of interested persons set up a demonstration for April 1st.
They chose April 1st as the date for the demonstration because the new entrance fee was planned to begin on April 1st. So Heike and I got up on Saturday, and in the afternoon we walked to Horner Mühle.
There were about 200-300 people gathered there. There were many people holding a green sheet of paper with songs and other information about the demonstration. A few people were holding up signs that said:
"Wir wollen in den Rhodo rein, und sollen bezahlen, dass kann nicht sein!"
"We want to go in the Rhodo Park, and we have to pay, that cannot be!"
"Eintritt für Rhodo, 8 Euro? Dass ist für mir zu teuer!"
"Entrance fee for Rhodo is 8 Euro" That is to expensive for me!"
So we started to walk down the street with all of these people. We walked down one street for about a kilometer until we reached the Botanika garden. Along the way, one man would cheer us on. He would say that if we wanted the Rhododendron Park to stay free, we should whistle. So Heike and I are walking down this street and we were talking with someone next to us about many things.
We turned and gathered at the main entrance to the Rhododendron park. Once there, the leader thanked everyone who organized the protest. Then he introduced someone from the government. The representative said that they had read the articles in the newspapers and had listened to all the people. The evening before, someone decided to donate the amount of money necessary to keep the park open for another year.
At this point, I was quite happy. No entrance fee for another year! But what I did not know (because my wife and I had not read the newspaper that morning) was that this demonstration was announced as a demonstration of joy. People were demonstrating joyfully about the fact that there would not be an entrance fee.
If you had read your newspaper and had come to the demonstration, you were demonstrating for joy! You knew that on Friday, you were helpless. Going into the park was going to cost you money. But by Saturday, someone gave so that you could go in free.
This is the kind of demonstration that the people in Israel gave to Jesus on Palm Sunday. They demonstrated FOR Him. They knew that He could do something for them. They were helpless people and they demonstrated for the person who could help them.
Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."
(Matthew 21:8-11 ESV)
Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people demonstrated before Him. They used palm branches instead of political signs. They sang songs about Jesus. It was the equivalent of a political demonstration. They were saying that they wanted to follow Jesus’ leadership.
Just as these people did in Matthew, and just Heike and I did last Saturday, you and I can demonstrate for joy about something or someone.
But did you know that Jesus demonstrated for us with joy? The cross was Jesus’ demonstration of joy.