Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.
Thousands of Jews, foreigners and Roman centurions were descending upon the city of Jerusalem at one time. The number of inhabitants was more than doubled as faithful Jews, hopeful businessmen, and anxious Romans slowly made their way across scorching deserts to the southeast and the rocky terrain to the north of the city. It was the week of Passover, the most anticipated feast of the Jewish religion. Jews celebrated the remembrance of their freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. Foreign businessmen took advantage of the large numbers of people gathered in such a confined space, and the Roman army prepared for the possibilities of riots. It was the perfect setting for joint worship, quick money, and social upheaval. It was the perfect setting for God’s “fullness of time”.
Among the crowds that week was a small band of disciples who followed their faithful teacher into Jerusalem. For three years Jesus had been at the center of everything they knew and did. He was their teacher, their provider, and their future king. Little did they know that He was days away from becoming the center of the greatest hatred and love they would ever witness. He entered into Jerusalem that week on a donkey, praised by the people. They had heard of the many miraculous signs and wonders He had been doing outside of Jerusalem. The crowds were correct in believing that He was the promised Christ, but mistaken in their understanding of what that meant. Along with His disciples, the Jewish people believed the coming Christ would save them from their Roman occupation and oppression. He would be a mighty king, compared to the greatness David. Jesus, however, came not to deliver Israel from Rome, but rather, the entire world from the curse of sin.
Everyone in the city was not a supporter of Jesus though. The Jewish leaders were extremely threatened by the influence of Jesus over the crowds. They believed He was a distraction and danger to their highly evolved religion; they were correct. Seizing the opportunity, they shifted the opinion of the crowds and turned them against Jesus. Social tension mounted and the Lord’s plan for salvation was set in motion. Hatred and revenge began to rule the hearts of the people. They were no longer hailing Jesus as their savior and king, but rather, as an unstable man who threatening the well being of Israel. Encouraged by the Jewish leaders, this hatred became a mounting snowball, rolling downhill with vicious momentum. It continued to grow as not only the Jewish people and the their leaders were added to its size, but the Roman officials became engulfed in the situation. The ball finally came to an abrupt stop at the foot of a cross on the top of a hill. It was here that hatred had run its full course, ending in strife, upheaval, and the death of a man. This was no ordinary man though. He was also the Son of God, divinity in the flesh. As the proverb says, “Hatred may stir up strife, but love covers a multitude of sins!” What Satan meant for evil, God meant for good. More important than our Savior’s death was His resurrection from the dead three days later. His self-sacrificing love provided the power needed to cover a world of transgressions.
As children of this God, it is our duty to imitate Him in all of His ways. I pray that you would follow the instruction of Proverbs 10:12 along with the example of Jesus Christ. Let love, rather than hatred, rule over your life.