This week is a time to re­mem­ber what Easter is re­ally all about

The Covington News - - OPINION - Con­tin­u­ing a long-stand­ing Easter Week tra­di­tion in this space. You can reach Dick Yar­brough at yarb2400@bell­; at P.O. Box 725373, At­lanta, Ge­or­gia 31139; on­line at dick­ or on Face­book at www.face­­yarb.

I wish I had been there. In Jerusalem. With Jesus.

I wish I could have wit­nessed the events of a week that changed the world for­ever.

I wish I could have ac­com­pa­nied Jesus into the city as he rode astride a don­key and watched the crowds throw their cloaks be­fore him, cheer­ing the man they thought had come to lift the yoke of Ro­man op­pres­sion from their necks. The Mes­siah. The new David. I won­der if I would have got­ten caught up in all the ex­cite­ment and hoped that when he took over Is­rael, Jesus would give me a high­level job in his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

I wish I could have asked him first­hand why he was rid­ing a don­key. It was a well-known fact that con­quer­ing kings ride stal­lions, not don­keys. I sus­pect Jesus would have smiled pa­tiently and said he was not the Prince of War. He was the Prince of Peace.

I wish I could have been there when Jesus over­turned the ta­bles in the tem­ple and ran off the usu­ri­ous mon­ey­chang­ers along with the live­stock and doves they were sell­ing to the masses for a big profit. He called the place a “den of thieves” and ac­tu­ally took a whip af­ter them. It wasn’t the first time a re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tion for­got who they were there to serve and, sadly, it won’t be the last.

I wish I could have told Jesus that his rare dis­play of tem­per had played right into the hands of the lo­cal power struc- ture threat­ened by his pop­u­lar­ity among the peo­ple. I would have re­minded him that they wanted to get rid of him any­way and were just look­ing for an ex­cuse and that he had given them a big one. I sus­pect he al­ready knew that.

I wish I could have seen the look on the faces of the re­li­gious lead­ers when they tried to en­gage him in de­bate and re­al­ized quickly that they were badly out of their league. I would have laughed and clapped and hooted at them un­til I saw the look of dis­ap­proval on the face of Christ. This wasn’t a game to him.

I wish I had been there to keep an eye on Ju­das Is­car­iot. He prob­a­bly thought that the way Jesus was act­ing, we were all go­ing to get in trou­ble and he wanted no part of it. Had I been there, I would have told him to get with the pro­gram and quit whin­ing. It likely would have done no good. He was pure evil.

I wish I could have been with Jesus dur­ing the Passover meal. The Last Sup­per. When he washed the feet of his fol­low­ers. When he told his dis­ci­ples af­ter serv­ing them bread and wine if they wanted to be great, they must be­come ser­vants as he had been. When he knew Ju­das would be­tray him and Peter would deny him and that dark hours were ahead, still he main­tained his seren­ity be­cause he had ac­com­plished what he had set out to do. What an ex­tra­or­di­nary time that must have been!

I wish I could have been some com­fort to him in Geth­se­mane, al­though I am not sure what I could have said that would have made a dif­fer­ence. Know­ing me, I would have got­ten into a con­fronta­tion with the mob that came for him and called them hyp­ocrites and prob­a­bly tried to get a piece of Ju­das. I think I would have greatly dis­ap­pointed Jesus who would have won­dered if I had heard any­thing he said over the past three years.

I wish I knew what I would have done dur­ing the mock­ery of a trial, the hu­mil­i­a­tions he suf­fered and the cru­ci­fix­ion. Would I have thrown up my hands in de­spair and left him to die? Would I have wor­ried I might be next? Would I have de­nied know­ing him? These are easy to an­swer in hind­sight, but I sus­pect I would have been scared then. Very scared.

I wish I had been with his fol­low­ers on that ex­tra­or­di­nary morn­ing three days later when they looked in the tomb and saw it empty. What had been to­tal de­spair was now un­speak­able joy. Christ was alive! He had risen! Hal­leluiah!

Yes, I wish I had been in Jerusalem that ex­tra­or­di­nary week. I wish you could have been with me. Af­ter what we wit­nessed, maybe we could re­mem­ber that Easter isn’t about dyed eggs, bun­nies and jelly­beans — as ex­cit­ing as those things may be for lit­tle ones. Easter is about cel­e­brat­ing the one who died for our sins and gives us hope that some­thing bet­ter awaits us when this life is done. A mirac­u­lous week. A joy­ous day. That is what Easter is about. I wish we would all re­mem­ber that.


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