For many this week, what there was, wasn’t enough.
For some, what they had in the bank wasn’t enough to pay for them to have sufficient heating.
For some, the protection afforded by the law wasn’t enough to stop them from being brutally murdered.
For some, the NHS wasn’t enough to cure them of their disease.
For some, their own sense of self wasn’t enough to get them out of bed in the morning.
For some, the combined force of NATO and the United Nations wasn’t enough to prevent them from becoming victims of the atrocities of war.
And for some, it was me who wasn’t enough. Not strong enough, not wise enough, not kind enough. Not for those who needed me to have been more of all these things, not for those who discovered that I too wasn’t good enough for them.
This week, in a world of grief, a world filled with so much sadness, so much pain, and so much suffering, there have been those for whom the whole world was not enough. And, for far too many, it won’t be enough next week either.
Life is hard – we are overwhelmed by what we can do, let alone by what we can’t. What is asked of us doesn’t just seem impossible – impossible is what it all too often really is. So then, let’s not be surprised when we are not enough because everyone sometimes needs more than the world has to give and there is no shame in being asked for more than we’ve got and only being able to give all that we have.
Even so, wouldn’t it be great if there was someone who was enough, someone who could do what we cannot?
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the day on which we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. As he travelled, cheered on by the people who welcomed him as their king, thousands of lambs were also being driven into the city in preparation for Passover, the Jewish festival that recalled how, back when they were enslaved in Egypt, the angel of death passed over those households where the blood of a lamb had been daubed on the doorposts of Jewish homes thus sparing the life of the eldest son within.
Like those lambs, Jesus too would soon be slaughtered. For five days later, on that first Good Friday, rejected by the people who had once rejoiced at his coming and now wearing only a crown of thorns, he would allow himself to be crucified. But unlike the blood of animals which was never enough to deal with sin and which was only ever meant to point towards this greater sacrifice, Jesus blood, shed for us on the cross, really is sufficient to take away our sin, secure God’s forgiveness and guarantee that, even though we all will one day die, those who trust him will, nonetheless, go on to live forever. And it is Jesus himself who assures us that this is true, the one who, as he raised Lazarus from the dead, declared himself to be the resurrection and the life [John 11:25], the one who, by his own resurrection, proved this was no idle claim. For as John the Baptist recognised some three years earlier, Jesus really is the true lamb of God, the one who really does take away the sin of the world [John 1:29].
This week, therefore, whatever your need, whatever the thorn in your flesh might be, know that God’s grace is sufficient for you [2 Corinthians 12:9]. Though the pain may yet linger, though the suffering may still continue on, there is a certain hope for a better tomorrow, a day when every tear will be wiped from our eyes and death shall be no more. [Revelation 21:4]
Because, for all those who, like me, know themselves not to be good enough, the good news is that, though we should all still try to make a positive difference in the lives of others, the final outcome does not ultimately depend on us. The genuinely good news, the gospel no less, is that Jesus is the one on whom we can depend. Being perfectly good, he alone is good enough.
And as we travel through Holy Week we can be sure that his cross, his blood, his mercy, grace, and deep deep love are more than good enough for us all.
To read ‘The Sacrifice of Isaac – Law or Gospel?’ click here
To read ‘Water from a Rock’, click here
To read “Good Friday – 2021”, click here
To read “Easter Sunday – 2021”, click here
To read, ‘The Resurrection – is it just rhubarb?’, click here
To read ‘Don’t forget to be ordinary if you want to be happy’, click here
To read, ‘T.S. Eliot, Jesus and the Paradox of the Christian Life’, click here
To read “Suffering- A Personal View”, click here.
To read “Why do bad things happen to good people – a tentative suggestion”, click here
To read “Luther and the global pandemic – on becoming a theologian of the cross”, click here
To read, ‘True Love?’, click here
To read, ‘Rest assured’, click here
To read, ‘Hope Comes From Believing The Promises Of God’, click here
To read “Waiting patiently for the Lord”, click here