Christ is Coming

Todays Reading Mark 6; Psalms 130

The second week of Advent is upon us.   I am so excited for this time of renewed joy and warmth. My family and I have gotten the tree up, the Advent Calendar is replenished every day, and the presents are being wrapped. The Spirit of Christmas is real and you can sense it in many places. On the radio we hear many songs and see many movies and classics that remind us of the season. The lyrics of one song spells it out so well:

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see, is the holly that will be
On your own front door

A pair of hop-along boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again

We begin to let our hearts and minds drift from the true meaning and essence of Christmas and the start to redirect our focus to ourselves. In Mark 6, we can see that while in the midst of Christ many of his close people were not able to fully understand the Essence of Christ that that they had in their midst and the ability to comprehend what he brought.

Mark 6: 1-6

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

How many times have we believers in Christ, not acknowledged the full manifestations of his presence? How many times we seen the miracles that happen in our daily life and not see Christ in them. How many times have we experienced the unimaginable and then question the validity of the Spirit?

We have to be mindful in this time of preparation for the coming Christ because he might have a particular purpose for us and we may not be aware of his presence. Lets look at an example of this in Chapter 6.

Mark 6:45-52

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

I pray that as we continue through these two weeks of Advent that we will be able to have our hearts be light and warmth by the presence of Christ. Let us not be afraid, if during this time we come into “rocky waters”, let our hope be in him. He who has us ever in his sight and ready to step into the boat at any given time.

As a final thought, a couple of days ago, my son and I were talking about life and then he makes a profound statement for a six-year old. “Dad, did you know that Christmas is Christ-mas. We have to remember that it’s all about Christ.” Wow, my heart is overjoyed that he is allowing God to speak through him. Let us adults also remember that it is not about the presents, cards, parties, cookies, or anything else. Its about Christ. Be Blessed.

Cast Your Net

Today’s Reading: John 21, Psalm 123

“Just as the day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to the, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So, they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” John 21: 4-7

In today’s reading we hear this story of Jesus’ third appearance to his disciples after his resurrection. It’s striking that again, despite witnessing his miracles, Simon Peter and the other men do not recognize Jesus for who he really is. After an evening and the following morning of empty nets, Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael and the sons of Zebedee return to shore empty handed. There stands Jesus. He instructs them to go back out into the Sea of Galilee and again cast their nets but this time on the other side of the boat. Of course, the net is filled to the brim with fish! It is then that they realize the man on the shore is indeed the Christ, their Risen Lord.

After reading today’s text a few times, I’m struck by a few things. First, the notion that the disciples returned to the sea at Jesus’ order despite not knowing who he really was. The second is the mere fact that this is the third time he had appeared to him and still they didn’t recognize him until after he had performed a miracle. This got me thinking about how often we as Christians miss those moments in which Jesus simply shows up for us. How often he is standing on the shore giving us the roadmap for success, but we mistake him for just another guy on the beach. Those of you that attend Eastview Christian Church may have heard Mike preach this Sunday on the importance of remembering the miracles that God performs in your life. How often Sunday morning tears and pleas turn into Monday morning miracles. And yet by the following week we’ve forgotten what He’s done for us and more importantly failed to spread the good news of God’s grace.

When I place myself in Simon Peter’s shoes, I too would jump out of the boat when I realized my mistake! How do I act in the moment when Jesus calls me to be a disciple and cast my net yet again? Following the call of Jesus means putting your net back into the sea even when you’ve had no success and you’ve grown weary. Even when we don’t feel like reaching out to that co-worker and sharing the message of hope or when we just don’t want to forgive and mend a relationship…Jesus is on the shore asking us to cast that net one more time. My prayer for this Christmas season is that we may be present enough to look for signs of Jesus on our shore and follow him. The miracle of Christ’s birth is upon us. Can we recognize Him when he comes?

I pray that we each find the time to put Jesus Christ into our lives this week. That we are attuned to His presence in the coming days. I pray for you to cast your net in faith this week. Peace.

Promises

Todays Reading : John 14   ;   Psalms 116

Preparing for the posting today I have a song in my head. Below are the lyrics:

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let his praises ring;
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.
[Refrain]

While reading the passage, my bible titles it the “Jesus Promise the Holy Spirit”. As I read and mediate on this chapter it is shown that we are standing on the essential Promise that Jesus has for us, He will not leave us wanting or in need of comfort or peace.

John 14: 15-17; 25-27

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

This year God has been revealing himself to me through the His Spirit. After completing “Forgotten God – by Francis Chan” and “ Comfort Detox – by Erin Stranz” I have a more intimate relationship with God and a better understanding of the Spirit and the power that is manifested in the knowledge of Him. This year, wife and I have been presented with many challenging and difficult circumstance and situations that have grown our faith. In our small group, we discussed the desert or wilderness that we sometimes face and the growth that happens as we go through.

In Chapter 14, Jesus is preparing the disciples for a journey through their “ wilderness” which He is providing a guide and Comforter. From these past months, I have been in a wilderness experience, but I have had the peace that the Spirit is only able to give and now I am coming through. It has only been through the faith and peace that I have been given through the Spirit of God, I am able to make today.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Spirit that rest within us. Thank you for you the Son that allowed this communion to become whole again. Thank you for the peace and comfort that the world is not able to comprehend. Your Spirit is true and your promises are real. Amen

Jesus at your Feast

Today’s Reading: John 7 and Psalm 109

 “For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not[c] going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”John 7:5-8

Jesus’ brothers. His actual brothers, the naturally born sons of Mary doubted Him. James, Joseph, Judas and Simon were actually a little embarrassed of Jesus. They advised him to go back to Judea and perform some more miracles so that his disciples can see his good works for themselves. They tell him:

“For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” John 7:4-5

Of course Jesus will eventually go to Judea to perform his most significant great work-his death and resurrection. Jesus says that it is not yet his time. He hasn’t come to live out his own will, He is fulfilling the will of his Father. I often find myself asking Jesus to act on my timeline. I want him to show Himself so that everyone around me can see what salvation looks like. As we move through this holiday season, so many of us will find ourselves at the table with our brothers or sisters. We’ll have the opportunity to place the focus on Jesus, or we can surrender to the consumerism that seems to overtake this sacred time. When we head to our own feast, can pause to connect with Jesus and thank Him for who he is and how he moves in our lives? When we run through the door of the shopping mall can we publicly acknowledge our Lord by greeting the bell ringer or purchasing a coat for someone in need.

In the United States, we have the privilege of teaching, preaching and worshiping publically with little fear of persecution…but are we too embarrassed of our Jesus? Even as we call ourselves his brothers or sisters, do we shy away from proclaiming His glory? I’m working on this within myself. I love the things of this world. I sometimes look to beautiful things to fill me up rather than relying on Jesus. As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, I’m praying that each of us can be a witness to the coming of our Lord. For unto us a child is born. Lord help us to teach our children to rejoice in you and only you. May we be strengthened and emboldened by your Spirit to be our true gift of salvation.

A True Friend

The Apostle John is a true friend of Jesus Christ and we have the fortune to be able to get a glimpse of the time and life of Jesus through this individual. The Gospel of John is one that shakes off all the coverings of the life of Christ and gets down into the truth and grit of the life of Christ. In the opening passage of the book, we are given a profound and eye opening picture of Christ.

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

This proclamation is the first to address the divinity of Christ in relation to God. As is relayed in my Life Application Study Bible “John shows that Jesus is fully human and divine. Although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed.”

Throughout this gospel, we are given an eyewitness account of Jesus life and John gives us the play-by-play commentary.   John was with Christ when he performed the first miracle in Cana. John was with Christ during the Transfiguration with Elijah and Moses. John was with him in the Garden of Gethsemane. John was with him throughout the trials and crucifixion. John was there until the end and beyond. John is a true friend that will not stop believing or following no matter the challenge or the circumstances.

As we read and grow through this gospel, may we seek to become intimate with Christ to the extent that we will go to the cross with him and not deny him. Lets be a true friend to Christ.

 

Few are Chosen

Today’s Reading: Matthew 22

Good Morning, it’s the start of another week! I’ve been intentionally praying for God to help me to remain connected to Him as the holiday season approaches. As I began reading the text for today’s reading, I got a little anxious. I actually put it down a few times and moved on to other projects because I just simply didn’t get it! I think it’s important to share that with you as a writer. Sometimes, extracting meaning from these ancient writings is complicated and messy. I tossed around the idea of skipping the Parable of the Wedding Feast all together. I mean, honestly guys, what in the world is going on here! There are clear parallels to the story of the Wedding Feast in Luke 14. But, Matthew’s telling is far more violent and confusing. Some commentaries argue that the two stories are actually separate tellings of the same event. Matthew’s writing comes within the context of the week of the Lord’s Passion. Whether or not they are a recounting of the same story, the intention of the author is clear. The message is that God invites us to grace and mercy through his Son, Jesus. And, we along with all of Israel are declining that invitation. We react with indifference and sometimes even whole hearted rejection.

The wedding feast is likened to covenant that God makes with his Christian followers. When the initial chosen guests refuse to come, the King sends his servants out to find anyone in the street to partake in the banquet. How often are we missing this invitation? How often am I responding with scorn or irritation to the opportunity to be with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven? The story takes a final twist in verse 11:

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?…” Matthew 22:11

 The man isn’t just sent away, rather he is thrown out to the darkness bound and beaten. This final part is uncomfortable. It’s a challenge to us as Christians. Are we going to come dressed for the party? Are we going to put on the vestiges of Christ in order to be truly prepared for his coming and our salvation? In the end, this twisted tale is really about becoming the bridegroom of Christ. It’s about dressing for the party even if we aren’t sure there will be anyone else there that we know. Matthew ends the parable with this:

“For many are called, but few are chosen” Matthew 22:14

 This is so powerful for me. So many of us are called by name but only a few are chosen for eternal life with Him. I want to share the final paragraph of Allen Ross’ teaching published in Bible.org on living a kingdom bound life:

In interpreting the parable, the context is so important. Throughout the events of the Passion Week leading up the crucifixion, the conflict between Jesus and the leaders became much sharper than it had been in Jesus’ public ministry before. Now everything was clearly set in order in the events and teachings for all to see, and in seeing the issue, the people would know that their decision to accept or reject the grace of God in Christ was truly a matter of life and death, eternal life and death. He made it clear that the only way they would ever see the kingdom of heaven was by him.

The story makes it clear that there is no reason, none at all, for people to reject a gracious invitation from the King to come to the wedding feast and enjoy all good things. The only reason they reject the invitation is that they do not believe the King, or they do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (Allen Ross, Bible.org)

There’s just no way to say it better. Are we going to accept or reject the invitation extended by our King? Can we withstand the conflict with our personal, political and cultural leaders in order to accept the grace offered by God. Can we put on the clothing of Christ and attend the feast?

 

 

 

God Heals

Today’s Reading Matthew 15, Psalms 88

As I sit with my youngest daughter in the hospital, I am mediating and reading the chapter for the bible journal and I cannot help but be overwhelmed with the context … God please heal my daughter.

Matthew 15: 21-28

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”And her daughter was healed instantly.[e]

 On Saturday afternoon, my father-in-law and daughters and I went on a routine shopping adventure. Its that time of year that the shoes are getting smaller and the sandals are not the right footwear for the seasons, especially when you see snowflakes at the end of October. As we complete the selection of shoes and preparing to leave, my youngest daughter, Nadya falls off a shoe-measuring stool and hits her head on the floor. As I pick her up and comfort her, she starts to have some questionable symptoms, which prompt me to take her to the emergency room. While at the hospital, we are checked up and admitted for overnight observations for concussion or seizure activity. As she sleeps that evening, I read the bible provided there and begin to review, read, and mediate on the chapter for today Matthew 15.   The Spirit of God is ever present and leading me to have a deeper communion with Him and He is consistently making me aware of His presence. What other time, place, and situation would make this passage ever be more real.

In the beginning of the chapter, Jesus is telling us about how people have changed the way God wanted his people to live, worship, and interact with each other. The Pharisees were questioning the validity of the teachings and followers. Jesus is telling us that the food and things that we put in our body will go in and come out and will not have eternal effect on our spirit. However, Jesus then refers to the things that we say and do to others is not a result of the tangible food that we eat, but the manifestation of the true character of our heart and spirit. It’s the true essence of us that is the reflection of God and how it is exhibited to others a reflection of our heart.

The following section of the chapter puts this into practice: the Canaanite lady and her daughter. Here is where the Canaanite woman comes to Jesus and begs for him to have mercy on her and her daughter. At first Jesus continues to walk by without acknowledgement of the person. This would have been utterly painful for Jesus to see and hear.   Then the disciples, orders Jesus to tell the woman to leave “them” alone. Wow, sometimes we forget who is in charge and we may overstep our own authority. Can you imagine that the disciples are giving Jesus orders? But Jesus has compassion on the woman, but wants to makes sure that she is truly committed and her faith outshines her circumstances.

It is the true spirit of the person that Jesus sees. He sees pass the unclean, the unworthy, the classes, the cultural differences, the gender, and the socioeconomic of all people. We have to recognize that Jesus is here for all to be given the Glory of God. We also have to recognize that we have to be confident in the promise of God. When we ask God for something, sometimes He is “silent” to us. Sometimes He reiterates the question that we ask. Sometimes He wants us to make Him know that we are longing for His presence and grace. In the end we pray that we will hear “…you have great faith! Your request is granted.”

As I complete this entry, Nadya is home, sleeping in her bed. Seizure free. Concussion free. Blessed beyond measure. Amen. Thank you for your prayers.

 

Made Clean

Today’s Reading: Matthew 8 and Psalm 81

Today’s chapter from the Gospel of Matthew reads like a collection of short stories.  We hear about five separate miracles performed by Jesus. I must admit, I never like to read collections of short stories. Mostly because I’m always left wanting more. It feels as if I’m just getting to know the characters and understand their circumstance and then the story ends. But, like all good novels, the Bible doesn’t disappoint. When we consider these miracles collectively we see the common thread: Jesus the Messiah. Of course, this is Matthew’s purpose, to show the Jews that He is the eternal King.

The first story we hear is about Jesus healing a man with leprosy. When I first read it, I breezed through the text. It’s a familiar tale, one we have all heard as children in Sunday school. Often, we use it to teach children not to judge by outward appearance. It’s so convicting when Jesus reaches out and touches the leper in verse three of chapter eight. But what surprised me was the leper says in verse two,

“Lord if you will you can make me clean.” Matthew 8:2

 The title of the chapter is, “Jesus Heals a Leper” and yet, what we hear is the leper asking to be made clean. I checked several other translations and found that each time, the request is the same, “Lord make me clean.” Yes, the man wants to be healed. He wants to be cured. Just like leprosy, sin is an incurable disease. Only the hand of Jesus can cure it. Only the love of Jesus can truly clean our soul. So is there a difference between being clean and being cured? I’m not sure. The leper had to be inspected by a priest and be declared clean before Jesus’ miracle could be authenticated. The HSCB translation notes that Jesus performed many of his miracles through touch but he certainly had the power to heal by command and a great distance from the sufferer. Touching the leper was an expression of deep compassion since doing so put Jesus at great risk.

All of this leads me to ask, how can I ask to be made clean? I’ve prayed fervently for healing over the years. All three of our children have faced significant health challenges. But maybe, I’ve placed my focus on the wrong outcome. Perhaps by boldly asking for Jesus to reach out and touch our broken lives, we can be made clean. What are the sins in my life that need to be wiped away? How can I accept my ragged edges, my incomplete spiritual self and become content with the slow process of being made clean? Our Psalm today echo’s the idea of God’s goodness in our waywardness,

“I remove the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress, you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud.” Psalm 81: 6-7

 He answers us out of our thunderclouds. He can wipe us clean and in doing so, heal not only our physical wounds but our hearts as well. Boldly ask Him and as His word says, He will answer.

 

Generations

Todays Readings: Matthew 1; Psalms 74

Generations. Life.  Family.

Last week, I had the fortune to celebrate my birthday and one of my main presents was a surprise visit from my younger brother Cameron. We have had the chance to talk, celebrate, eat, and fellowship this past week. It has given him a chance to interact with my kids and they have truly enjoyed each moment with him. He has had the chance to put the kids to bed, pick them up when they wake, take them to school and dance class, go swim class, and listen to them read their books. He has had a chance to experience my life and a part of our legacy.

As I read Matthew Chapter 1, I remember skimming through the first part and rushing to the birth of Christ.   I love the Christmas story, but God again has been teaching me as I grow how to slow down and listen to the parts that I have overlooked before. I have a renewed appreciation for the litany of names and linage of Christ.

Matthew 1: 1-18

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,[a] and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,[b] and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,[c] and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,[d]and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

At first I only see names and father of… , but now I see the people and the overall connection. These particular people are the direct influence of Christ. The prayers, songs, hymns, traditions that were the beginning of the Judaism faith were directly passed down through father to son. The initial sacraments and traditions and scriptures were directly passed to Christ. This is truly amazing for me to imagine. This is the essence of our beliefs. We have the bible inspired by the Holy Spirit, but Christ in human-form had a tactile and visceral experience.

Through this list of names and people, God is showing us that He has the ability to do great things with ordinary and extraordinary people; saints and sinners; good and evil people. Sometimes in our lives we question if God is purpose is being fulfilled through us, but we have to be confident that the Holy Spirit is using us for His Glory if we are willing to be used. From my grandmother I learned songs, hymns, and learned a passion for the Scriptures. By example, I sing, pray, and share the joy of the Scriptures with my children daily.

God, we pray that the influences that we have been given through family and experiences may be used for your Glory to be influences on the next generation, as they may know you better. Amen

Missing It

Today’s Reading: Luke Chapter 19, Psalm 67

“As he approached and saw the city, He wept over it, saying “If you knew this day what would bring peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days will come on you when your enemies will build and embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44 (HCSB)

 There is so much in this 19th Chapter of Luke, I can hardly hold it in. Reading the story of Zacchaeus repenting for his sins and hosting Jesus while others looked on with distain. Then on to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on that young donkey. My HCSB Study Bible explains that the distance between Jericho and Jerusalem is about 17 miles. The elevation change is 3,300 feet which means that the road was going up on average at a rate of almost 200 feet per mile. As he nears Jerusalem his disciples and followers spread their cloaks on the road as a way to honor their King. People were rejoicing and proclaiming His mighty works. I can only imagine the electricity in the air that day! I can imagine what it felt like to believe that your King has come and to be able to see him. Some texts say that the crowd was shouting Psalm 118:26:

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.” (Ps 118:26)

This further solidifies the messianic expectation at that time. But when Jesus begins to approach Jerusalem he weeps. He weeps at the thought of rejection by the city of Jerusalem. It is true that the Jews enjoyed peace in this time under Roman rule until about 40 years after Jesus spoke the words in verse 44:

“…They will crush you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” Luke 19:44

 In A.D. 66 the Jews revolted against the Roman control, three years later Roman soldiers attacked Jerusalem and burned it to the ground in A.D. 70. Six hundred thousand Jews were killed during that siege. Many Jews did not open their eyes to see Christ as the Messiah or recognize His coming as God’s visitation and offer of salvation. After studying the gospel of Luke and the historic context I’m struck by how similar this ancient society is to our so called modern society. We too are arguing about who is really the messiah. We have modern pharisees asking us to rebuke one leader in favor of another. Jesus viewed the corruption of the temple as a reflection of the corruption of the nation. He knew that they were about to enter an even greater season of judgement. How can we learn from the fall of Jerusalem? Can we begin to connect the dots between ourselves and the ancient Christians? The leaders among their people included wealthy men in politics, commerce and law. They saw Jesus as a threat. He drove the merchants out of the temple and his teachings favored the poor. He attracted attention that wasn’t in line with their business goals.

I love the woven tapestry of Luke 19. It’s a collection of parables for us to consider and then compare to our own Christian life. Are we tax collectors? Are we merchants in the temple? Are we truly spreading our cloaks out for Jesus to walk upon or are we a Pharisee, rebuking the message of Christ. Are we just plain missing it…in other words are we actually missing the opportunity for a visit from God. Are we so close but not quite there in our total commitment to the Messiah? I know that I have work to do. My eyes are open and looking for encounters with Him this week. I hope yours are too.

Peace.