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Make your choice

BY: Lawrence Darmani
Church goers holding palm fronds

Every time I picture the multitude waving palm branches, as will be commemorated tomorrow (Palm Sunday) worldwide; and when I visualise them spreading their garments for the Teacher to ride his colt on, I see two groups.

One group marched on in a triumphant entry, for they knew the Teacher and his mission. The other group mingled with the crowd absent-mindedly, not understanding what was happening.

Many of those who sang “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” later yelled vehemently, “Crucify him, crucify him!”

I wonder—if you and I were among the multitude, which of these two groups would we belong to? What would our song be— “Hosanna” or “Crucify him”?

Every time I imagine the crowd of people at Pontius Pilate’s courtyard watching the Teacher being brutally tortured, I see two groups: the bloodthirsty group who yelled, “Let the blood flow!” and the broken-hearted group who were eyewitnesses of the Lamb of God being sacrificed at the Passover.

And I wonder—if you and I were standing there that early morning, what would have been our deep feeling— “Let the blood flow” or “O God, have mercy upon us”?

Especially so when we recall that even here in Ghana, “Let the blood flow” was a slogan that once celebrated the killings of other Ghanaians!

Every time I think about the Teacher carrying his own cross laboriously towards Golgotha to be crucified while people watched, I see two groups.

I see the crowd who failed to extend a helping hand and the single individual from Libya in Africa who helped the Teacher carry his cross.

So, I wonder: if the fierce-looking Roman soldier had called any of us to help carry the Teacher’s cross, what would have been our reaction? — “Who? Me? Carry the cross? Why should I?”

Or would we have humbly relieved the suffering Saviour of his burden, remembering that he once said, “If anyone would come after me, let him carry his own cross”?

Every time I picture the Teacher and two others hanging on the cross, I see two groups of people. One group on his right, represented by the violent robber, and the other group on his left, represented by the repentant robber.

The violent group would be mocking, “If you are the Son of God, save yourself and save us too!” The repentant group would be pleading, “Remember us, Lord, when you come into your kingdom.”

Which of these groups would we belong to?

They left him hanging on the cross and rushed home to prepare for the Sabbath—not recognising that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. It took two secret disciples in the Sanhedrin, Joseph and Nicodemus, to bring him down for burial.

Which of the groups would we have joined—those who abandoned the Teacher or the two who boldly approached Pontius Pilate to have his body for burial?

Are you realising what I am realising—that there are always two groups and that we must choose where we belong?

Even the two people who went into the temple to pray symbolically broke into two groups. One group was led by the Pharisee who proudly boasted about his self-righteousness.

The other group was led by the tax collector who humbly prayed, “Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner!”

The haughty Pharisee lost favour with God while the humble tax collector gained God’s favour. So, I ask: are we the Pharisee or the tax collector?

The Lord Jesus once said about his second coming, “Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” Again, “Two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke 17:34).

When Jesus returns, will we be taken, or will we be left behind? It is a choice we must all make.

In the early days of a spiritual awakening in Tamale in the 70s, we used to sing this song—

Which way are you choosing, the narrow or broad?

You have to make up your mind.

The cross is demanding but hear Jesus call

Then come and make up your mind

He died the stranger of Galilee

To bring salvation to you and me

A strong companion you’ll prove him to be

Don’t wait but make up your mind!

The journey to eternal life leads through two gates—the narrow and the broad. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate (that leads to life); for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction . . .” (Matthew 7:13).

This Easter season, where would we rather belong? Those who sadly yelled, “Crucify him, crucify him!” or those who happily sang, “Hosanna—save us now!”?

The writer is a publisher, author, writer-trainer and CEO of Step Publishers.
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