And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them.”
The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
Then Pilate said to Him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
1 Samuel 8:7, Luke 9:22, John 18:37-38
My daughter stood at the back door of our home staring out the window. I sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast: oatmeal with almond butter, some fresh blueberries, and a fried egg. It was the Thursday before Easter. “Daddy, come look!” she said. “The flowers bloomed.” I got up and walked to her side. Looking out, I saw the pretty yellow petals of an Iris awake in soft morning light. “And just in time for Easter,” I said without thinking. “Maybe the flowers bloomed,” she said, “because they want to be put on the cross.” I knew what she meant. Our church invites children to cover a cross with flowers in the courtyard on Easter morning. Families line up for pictures in front of it. But my mind went further. What if every flower of springtime blooms to bless their Creator and King?
Be that as it may, we live in a time when such a thought rarely, if ever, and perhaps only through the eyes of a child, enters into our minds. Life comes as a rush and tumble, and it doesn’t take someone telling us God isn’t real to live like it. It is simply assumed. Our society has stripped the world of its spiritual substance, setting humanity at the center of things. The crisis of our culture is the consequence of irreverence. When God is rejected, slavery ensues (1 Samuel 8:17).
For the Creator and King of the cosmos is the God of freedom. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). Liberation precedes law as grace undergirds reverence. “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3) is the condition whereby true freedom can be known and enjoyed. Reject God, and human freedom is left up for the taking (1 Samuel 8:10-18).
Is not addiction, loneliness, and consumerism a kind of captivity? Without God, humanity has lost the freedom of a reason for living that cannot be bought or achieved, of truth more weighty with wonder than mere science can measure, of an identity deeper than image, of strength that is both gentle and kind, of hope that can hold great joy and sorrow, of beauty that bathes the beholder in goodness, of love that never fails. We have rejected God and lost our true freedom.
The grounds for recovery in our own lives and the life of the world begin with reverence. And reverence comes by grace. For the God who created the heavens and earth, who so loved the world, is the God who was rejected, killed, and raised on the third day. Jesus was crowned King on the cross, and maybe the flowers bloom before Easter because they want to adorn Him. Maybe the whole creation is calling for us to praise Christ the King with the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:18-21).