When I took Econ 101 as an undergrad my professor made a statement that I still carry with me. It wasn’t the first time I had heard it, nor was it original to him. He was talking about the growth of Atlanta and how it was becoming unmanageable and he said some day we would pay a price for our urban sprawl because, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” One of the big fights, he predicted, would be over water from Lake Lanier. He said Alabama and Florida both would get tired of our free ride on the water of Lanier when it would negatively affect those two states further downstream. How prophetic he was. We are now in court with Alabama to figure out who really has rights to the water.
There may be no free lunch, but there is free grace. Jesus rides into Jerusalem this Sunday giving everyone the opportunity to receive his grace. But they don’t. They want things to be on their own terms, not his. Like Peter’s confession they have the title right, but the wrong understanding the title. They want Jesus to be a political Messiah and overthrow those pagan Romans and re-establish the throne of David. They shout Hosanna! But to them it means God save us from these dirty rotten Romans!
We hear this same rhetoric during election years. Somehow we think we can legislate Jesus into our hearts and homes. Somehow we think that Jesus doesn’t love those that think differently than we do. I have yet to see the Ten Commandments in a courthouse produce one believer, have you? It is time that we started working on the right end of the problem by loving as Jesus loved not becoming embroiled in politically fueled moralism.
Political messiahs die and stay dead.
When you wave that palm branch this Sunday what kind of Messiah are you waving it for? Are you waving it for the Messiah of free grace, the son of God who rose from the dead or are you waving it for the dead political messiah that says, “ain’t no free lunch.”?