The Street Sweeper
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The Street Sweeper
Pastor Tim Zingale
“What a mess!! I come to work on Monday morning and what do I have? A messy street! I wonder what happened? I see palm branches thrown all over, even some clothes. What a mess!! Who could have done such a thing, and why? I did not see on the schedule that we were suppose to have a parade this weekend, or I would not have left for the lake for the weekend. Now look at the mess I have to clean up.
Hey you, what happened here? Why the palm branches in the middle of the street, why the clothes strewn all over? What, you don’t know what happened either. Yea, I will get it cleaned up, hold your pants on.
Boy, I need a break. This is tough work. I haven’t seen a mess like this since king Herod came to town. Everything was a mess the next day, but we knew he was coming, and we planned for it. But this, this was not expected.
I think I’ll drop by the coffee shop and rest a moment.
Hey, inn keeper, a cup of coffee and make it snappy. I have a huge mess to clean up. Do you know anything about what happened here yesterday? You do, well tell me about it so I can charge the guy who started the parade without a license or permit.
What? You say it was that guy Jesus. He came riding in here on a donkey and a crowd gathered, and people started throwing palm branches in the way and even their clothes!!
Didn’t anyone try to stop them?
What’s that you say? The crowds started to sing Hosanna, hosanna, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
It was like a king coming to town. Everyone was singing, dancing as this Jesus came riding in on a donkey.
That Jesus fellow. I’ve heard of him. He was making trouble up by the lake. Seems he has healed people, casting out demons, raising people from the dead, and says He is the son of God. He has 12 followers and a rag tag group following him where ever he goes. Didn’t anyone try to stop him?
The inn keeper told him that the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” They should not be calling you King!! We have one King and that is Herod. You want to get all of us in trouble.”
So, did this Jesus fellow stop? Nope, he rode all the way into Jerusalem like he owned the place.
Well, thanks for the lowdown. I better get back to work. I have such a mess to clean up. When I find out who to send the bill too, it’s gonn’a be a whopper, they will be sorry they made such a mess.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, that’s all I do all day. Push the stuff into a pile, then bend over and pick it up and throw it into the basket. Then haul the basket to the dump and start all over again.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul. Hey what’s all the commotion up there at the temple. Hey, it’s that Jesus fellow again. Wasn’t it bad enough He made trouble yesterday and gave me this mess to clean up, but He’s at it again.
Hey, you, what’s goin’ on? I can’t hear you with all the noise, speak up man. What, Jesus just turned over a bunch of tables in the Temple. He is driving out the money changers, and He is calling the Temple His Father’s house. He says: “the Temple shall be a house of prayer, but you make it a house of thieves.”
His Father’s house?? I suppose when I am done here, I’m gonn’a have to go in there and clean it up too. But one good thing. There are places in there I can’t go. Them Temple people are going to have to clean that up!!
Wait just one doggone minute!! Jesus said the Temple is his Father’s house!! But the Temple is God’s. Is God Jesus’ father. No it can’t be.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul. The Temple Jesus’ Father’s house. Jesus the son of God. I remember something about that awhile back, maybe 30 some years ago. My cousin up at Nazareth told me a story he heard from an inn keeper up there. He said a couple came to the inn when everyone was forced to go to their own town to be enrolled. Boy, we had a mess here, too. So many people no place to put them.
There was no place for them in the Inn, so the inn keeper put them in the stable. He had his son clean out the place, replace the straw. Turned out to be a comfortable place. Then a baby was born. And shepherds came in from the fields and said that the angels told them “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11* for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12* And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And the story goes that baby is this Jesus character.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul. Leaning on his broom, the street sweeper thinks, and up at the lake I heard something about this guy Jesus that he was baptized by a guy named, what was that name, oh, John the Baptist. And people told me that a voice came from heaven and said, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul. Looking up toward heaven, the street sweeper thinks, this is really strange. Jesus the son of God coming to Jerusalem now for the Passover. Coming here like a King. Is He the king, the Messiah that we have all been waiting for?
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul. It is almost quitting time. At last, time to go home put the old dogs up and relax. Got most of this mess cleaned up. Got some time off the rest of the week. Don’t have to show up till late afternoon on Friday. Everyone wants the street cleaned before the Sabbath. I have really work hard then. I got about 3 to 4 hours from the time I get to work and sunset. But I usually get it done.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul. What happened here? I had 3 days off, went to the lake came back late this morning, show up for work and what do I see, a messy street. It sure is different than the last one I cleaned up. This time I see stones, sticks, torn clothes, and what’s that blood. What happened here? Hey, why is the sky getting so dark it is only a little after 3 in the afternoon. I need day light to get finished before the Sabbath starts.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul. Leaning on his broom, he sees someone coming. Hey mister, what happened here? Looks like another parade?
The street sweeper sits down while the stranger tells him a very interesting story.
The stranger says: I just returned from Calvary, the place of the skull. They crucified 3 men, 2 robbers and that Jesus of Nazareth. The religious guys said that the Jesus character was claiming to be the King of Jews, that he blasphemed, that He claimed to be the Son of God, so they tricked the Romans into crucified Him.
The religious guys worked up the crowd so much that they were yelling “Crucify, crucify him!” Pilate had no choice but to hand Jesus over. Since one person is allowed to be freed on the Passover, the religious guys wanted Barabbas freed and Jesus crucified. So he was paraded through the streets, as one who was a traitor, a false king, as one who blasphemed the word of God!!
As Jesus was carrying his cross, he slipped, and the Romans grabbed someone in the crowd to carry it. They grabbed my cousin Simon of Cyrene and he carried the cross to the hill. They nail Jesus and the other two to the crosses and lifted them into place.
I was not real close but Jesus did mutter some words from the cross, one being “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” He asked his father to forgive them. Father who? Then towards the last while it was getting real dark, like a storm coming up he says: “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!”And someone came running from the Temple to say the curtain has been torn. I left while they were taking the body down.
The street sweeper gets up from his place, stands for a moment, then picks up his broom and continues his job.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul.
He stops, leans on his broom and thinks: Maybe that Jesus really is the Messiah. Maybe he is the Son of God. If I tie together everything I have heard over these 30 years about this guy Jesus, from the babe born in the stable, the shepherds, the baptism, the voice from heaven, the miracles, the parade the first part of the week, if I tie it al together, Jesus could really be the Messiah.
Push, push, push, bend, bend, bend, haul, haul, haul and the street sweeper goes about his business, thinking all the while about that guy Jesus!!
That guy Jesus!!
On this Palm/Passion Sunday, that guy Jesus sure does stir up a lot of different emotions in us. The emotion of celebration as he rides into town on a donkey, with cheering, palm branches waving, clothes strewn all over the road. He comes riding into town as a King, the king of the Jews.
Then He is led through the town as a guilty criminal, beaten, having to carry his own instrument of death, the cross. We feel sorrow, anger, at those who we know now did not understand everything. We sense their anger, the hatred of this man who would call himself their king. A king who was humble, a king who was a servant, a king who was bringing a different kind of kingdom that the people and the religious guys did not understand.
That guy Jesus is surely very interesting. A king, yes, our king, the son of God, yes, a son who allowed Himself to be crucified so that our sins would be forgiven.
Jesus rode into town on that day as a different kind of King, a different kind of religious ruler, as a different kind of political leader, He rode into town as the Messiah who would die for His people and rise again.
That guy Jesus!!
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Copyright 2006, Pastor Tim Zingale. Used by permission.