Keep Your Focus and Don’t Look Back!
When my mother would catch me, day dreaming, she would shout, “focus black man, focus! A lack of focus is the biggest problem of the black man!” Often this occurred when I was in high school doing my homework. While I sat with my books in front of me, my mind was often on the “Play list” my band would play at parties on Friday and Saturday nights. My mom made me do my homework in the dining room. Emory, my younger brother, did his homework on an inside back porch. My mother was finishing her PhD. Degree in sociology of education and did her reading and writing at the kitchen table. The years were 1967-1969, long before the advent of the personal computer. She had a stack of books and papers on the table and seemed to plow right through. For the life of me, I do not know how she had time to catch me day dreaming, but she did. As I think of my mother’s concern that I maintain focus, I think about the “Triumphal Entry of Jesus” on the first Palm Sunday. Even though the crowds cheered Jesus greater than ever, he never loses his cool. Jesus does not go buck wild. He does not send the disciples to the liquor store to buy beer and wine to celebrate. Jesus does not tell Peter to buy some “Pot” they can smoke around the dinner table. Rather, he keeps the focus with his eyes set on the cross that is waiting for him.
No matter how many times I read the same passage from the Bible, I see something different. The “Triumphal Entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem is recorded in all four of the eyewitness Gospels. Matthew and Luke record that immediately following the entry into Jerusalem, Jesus over throws the tables of the money changers. Mark says that after the entry into Jerusalem, Jesus goes inside the temple, looks around and then goes back to Bethany. John’s account is a little different, but similar in one major aspect. In all four accounts, when the entry into Jerusalem has taken place, Jesus immediately sets his sight upon the larger objective which is preparation for his glorification on Calvary.
I do not get worked up regarding the differences in the eye witness accounts. Four people will see the same event four diverse ways. What does jump out at me today in reading these four accounts of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem is the remarkable focus Jesus has in not letting the acclaim of the crowd go to his head. Jesus is reflective, pensive and forward thinking as he absorbs his place in history and the confidence God has placed upon him to die on a cross for the sins of the world.
John 12: 27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
Questions for Reflection:
- What are your observations regarding Jesus desire and ability to stay on task, even immediately following the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday?
- Have you ever prayed to the Lord for increased focus?
Prayer: Our Lord and Our God, bless us this day with enhanced focus and attention to detail. Lord, help us to be on task, on point and on time as we press toward the high calling of peace on earth, justice for all, and love without end. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
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