March madness is upon us and I don’t see a cure for the illness any time soon. 68 NCAA Division 1 men’s basket ball teams have been selected to play in the “the Big Dance”. Terms such as “bracketology, cinderella team, bracket busters, seeds, and final four” become everyday language around the water cooler at work. Hours of sleep and work productivity will be lost to this feverish madness. Relational issues, world crisis, national debt, and high crime rates will all take media back seats to the coverage of this national obsession. Thousands of dollars will be waged in office pools and through Vegas odds makers. Even the President of the United States will unveil his personal bracket selections before a national audience. Once April 8 has passed and the new national champions are crowned, we can resume some form of sanity in our daily lives but until then the madness begins.
This year we are also remembering another great “madness” that occurred over 2,000 years ago. On March 31st, we will observe the Christian celebration of Easter. You have most likely never heard Easter referred to as madness. Not only is the concept of resurrection madness but Christ’s entire life could be described with the same adjective. One way to view madness comes when someone loses their ability to reason in a logical and rational manner. It is completely illogical that the God of the universe would come down to earth as a lowly man and then die a sinner’s death even though he was without sin himself. It is irrational for one to believe that the way to eternal life is through this humble carpenter’s son. Man had repeatedly offended God through his rebellion and self reliance. It would have been more logical for God to wipe out the entire human race. Remember the flood? Now that was logical, rational corrective decision making. Trying to understand why God would continue to love man is beyond reason. So God did the illogical by sending His son to the pay the price that we could never pay.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the cheers of an enthusiastic, sold out, standing room only crowd. One of the definitions of madness is described as a great enthusiasm or excitement. This would definitely describe this scene. To the people of his day, Jesus was the cinderella, underdog, bracket buster team that was going to defeat the wicked rival Roman team. It was going to be David defeating Goliath all over again. This was the championship game and all bets were on Jesus to win without even raising a sweat. But Jesus didn’t even suit up for the game. He rode in on a donkey and he sure wasn’t dressed like a king or warrior. As the week pressed forward, the mood of the people begin to change. The day of the big show down came and a few believed Jesus would rally and claim his victory over the hated Roman team. Another definition of madness is described as a great anger or fury. The crowds that once praised him are now raging against him and demand his death. In the people’s eyes, Jesus has betrayed them by not meeting their expectations. Jesus did not come to play man’s game or to meet their expectations. He came to meet His Father’s expectations.
It truly is illogical and irrational to think about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It may even appear to be madness to believe that this man from Galilee is who he says he is. Jesus, however, did not leave us a choice regarding his identity.
John 14:66 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJV)
God did not stop with sending His son, he also sent His Spirit. It is through His Spirit that He gives us the faith to believe and know that this illogical message of the gospel is true. We can praise God every day that He did not follow a logical plan in dealing with us. Will you praise Him for His wonderful, illogical, irrational plan of salvation? Enjoy His March madness this Easter season.