March 13, 2012
Do you know how many people were purported to be in Jerusalem for the Passover when Jesus entered on Palm Sunday, knocked over the money changer’s tables in the Temple, and was crucified? I heard today one million. A million people. I Googled to see what current events draw that kind of crowd. The recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton drew about a million people. Roughly the same number attended Barack Obama’s inauguration. Even Christians can gather in those numbers, as they did for the May 1, 2011 Beatification Ceremony for Pope John Paul II.
However, consider this: the entire population of Israel at the time of Jesus was only 500,000. That means even if every single person in the nation attended the Passover festivities, that number was doubled by people traveling in from outside the country. That would be like 11.4 million people (twice the population of Wisconsin) all coming to Milwaukee for a religious event. Can you imagine?
When you think of the throngs of crowds that were there when Jesus entered the city, when you think of the ruckus he made at the Temple, when you imagine everyone shouting, “Crucify”, did you ever imagine that kind of magnitude? If the city was that crowded, how many people even noticed what was going on with Jesus? It boggles my mind, but at the same time it gives me goose-bumps. To think that one person who was not politically connected could begin a ministry and a movement that survived for 2,000 years in a city burdened with that many guests in an age with no social media, no nightly news broadcasts, no radio is in itself a miracle.
To me this reveals more strongly than ever that Jesus had something remarkable. He may not have taught everything the church espouses today, but he was drawing people’s attention. Positive or negative, people took note. Some were scared that their own power was being threatened. But so many others were transformed. They found healing, new life, forgiveness, love. Jesus still offers the same. I can’t imagine what it was like to be there that week. I’ve been to the Holy Land, walked the way of the cross, scene all the sights. But I will never get what it was like to be there that week. I can understand though what it is to have Jesus in my life. I can be blessed.