We live in a world where there are lies and deceit, where friends betray friends for money, where the powerful abuse the weak, where justice is denied, where the innocent are convicted, where people are unfaithful, where allegiances quickly change, where people are tortured, where human life is disvalued, where killing is glorified, where evil seems stronger than good, and where clouds of darkness obscure the light.

In other words, we live in a world just like the one described in the two Gospel readings we hear this Sunday, namely, the account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-40) and the account of the Lord’s passion and death (Luke 22:14-23:56).

In those readings we hear of people who shift their allegiance as they shout praises for Jesus one day and a few days later yell for his execution. We learn about a trusted friend who betrays Jesus for money. We read of disciples who promise faithfulness then abandon their master and even deny knowing him. We learn about religious leaders who abuse their positions to rid themselves of a rival.

We read about false witnesses who defame a person who has done only good. We are informed of a Roman governor who knowingly sentences an innocent man to death. We are told how Jesus is beaten, tortured, mocked and reviled. We learn how his life ebbs away before a jeering crowd.

It was into such a world that Jesus came. As Paul tells us, “Christ Jesus … did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave … he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The Son of God stepped into this messy, sinful world of ours not to take away all darkness and sin, but to suffer with us the injustices and evil that often come with living in this world.

We have a God who walked this earth 2,000 years ago and who remains with us through his Church, through his Word and Sacraments, and through our fellow Christians.

Even more wonderfully we have a God who in the Resurrection of Jesus lets us know that eventually all things will be set right. Those beaten down by the injustices, evils, and unfairness of life will be raised up. This messy world is not the end of the story for those who follow the Lord.

That is why we can hear the readings this Sunday and still proclaim, “Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!”

© 2019 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski