In the northwestern corner of the ancient temple was a castle-like building called the Antonia Fortress, which was built by Herod the Great to protect the area and was therefore the seat Roman power in the region. During the time of the Jewish Passover, the fortress was on high alert because, although Jerusalem had about 200,000 people on a normal day, when the celebration commenced, there were as many as two and a half million within its walls. The reason for this surge in population was that the law stated that any family who lived within twenty miles of Jerusalem had to come to the city to pay the temple tax during Passover, and they typically sent a young male member of the household to represent them. Consequently, during these weeks, the area was overrun by patriotic young men who hated the Roman Empire. Since there were only 10,000 members of the Roman garrison present to protect the temple, it’s safe to say that if these adrenaline-rushed youths decided to revolt, everybody in Antonia Fortress would die…and they knew it. In the midst of an atmosphere that was already raucous, Jesus entered the city riding on a donkey, which sent the crowd into an even greater uproar. While the soldiers at the fortress put on their armor, gathered their archer’s gear, and prepared for war, the Jewish people waved palm branches and hailed Hosanna, the One whom they believed would finally set them free from Roman oppression and take their country back. However, little did they know that our Lord came with a completely different message and mission. He did not come to fight evil with evil, but to overcome evil with good. Instead of going to war with those who were oppressing the people, He went directly to those who were being oppressed.
My friend, do not overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good. Though it can be hard to repay wrongs with right, especially when someone hurts or abuses you, doing so is the only way to be truly set free. While the natural response to injustice is bitterness, hatred, and revenge, these only cause greater pain since they keep you connected to the one who harmed you. Although blessing others in the face of persecution is far from easy, you can trust your Savior to deliver you, because He is unshakably faithful and good. While it’s rarely obvious, He is fighting behind the scenes to orchestrate an outcome that is far greater than anything your mind can conceive of. Isn’t that wonderful news?