“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10, NIV; emphasis added).
“Who is this?” Just three words but when they refer to Jesus, it becomes the most important question of our lives. What is your answer? And what is your answer based on?
Speaking of the morning when Jesus rose from the dead, songwriter, Jim Croegaert, poses a question in the verses of his song, “Was it a morning like this?”
Was it a morning like this
When the Son still hid from Jerusalem
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead
This songs constantly fills me with joy whenever I hear it. But today, although the joy is present, I am also struck with the awareness of how miraculous things occur in the mist of the ordinary.
On the night that Jesus was born, shepherds were doing what they always did at night while caring for sheep. Innkeepers were likely doing what they always did after seeing to their guests. So it was on the morning He rose from the dead with all power in His hand. It was most likely a morning like many other mornings in Jerusalem. But it was also a morning like no other.
And so it is with our lives, His sacred presence can enter into an ordinary day full of mundane things and transform it into a day we will never forget. He comes into the ordinary and makes it glorious.
It is Wednesday evening and the Cross is on my mind
The Cross and The Lamb and His willing submission to the Father’s will in all forms
It is Wednesday evening and the longing is there to keep His death, burial, and resurrection center place in my heart, mind, and spirit
Center place in my decisions and my interactions with other image bearers
Center place in my secret places
Bringing them to the Light
Causing any idols hidden there to be reduced to ashes
Center place in my broken places
Offering them up for the healing He paid for with His torn flesh
The thing is, Father, You know I have felt these longings before
But they did not translate into sustained action or change
Show me how to make them so, Abba
Show me how
Lead me to the Cross by Hillsong
Earlier this evening, I was struck by verse 4 of John 18… “Then Jesus, knowing everything that was to happen to HIM, (emphasis added) went out and said to them, ‘Who is it you seek?'”
HIS response is breath snatching; elicits a “No way!” response.
It is human nature to avoid pain, especially our own, and our typical response (at least it is mine) is to avoid the things that will hurt us, even if we sense God calling, leading, wooing us in that direction. Not Jesus.
“…knowing everything that was to happen to HIM,” … the scourging, the slaps, the cuffs, men spitting in HIS face, the mockery, Judas’ betrayal, the disciples’ abandonment, being disowned by Peter, the nails, the thorns, the thirst, the unspeakable agony, feeling forsaken by HIS Father, … knowing all this, HE went out and asked those who would be among his tormentors, “Who is it you seek?”
I imagine that HE could do so because of what HE had gone through in prayer earlier in the evening. Luke 22:44 records, “Being in anguish, HE prayed more fervently, and HIS sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” HE said to HIS Father, “My Father, If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26: 37-39). His surrender to the Father’s will is what, I believe, enabled Him, even with the knowledge of “… everything that was to happen to HIM” to willingly surrender HIMSELF to those who had come to arrest HIM.
I am thinking this could very well be the key to obedience and peace when we are wrestling with anything God requires of us that our human nature wants to shy, run, fly away from … fervent prayer followed by surrender to our Father.
*All Scripture passages are from the Holman Standard Bible
Ever so often, we hear a variation of the following questions: “If God loves me, why is this happening?” and “If God loves you, why are you suffering like this?”
It is also a question that we sometimes ask, even if it we do so only in the hidden places of our hearts, not daring to voice it, perhaps out of the fear of being judged by our fellow believers.
However, here is truth: My circumstances, your circumstances, and/or the circumstances of those close to our hearts or that of strangers, are not the proof of God’s love. Christ’s death is.
Hear this truth stated in several translations of Romans 5:7-8, and may it heal our hearts, quiet our anxious spirits, and silence the doubts in our minds:
“7 Very few people will [or Rarely/Scarcely will anyone] die for a ·righteous [just; pious] person. Although perhaps for a good [truly good; noble] person someone might possibly die [ the “righteous” person may be someone who is outwardly religious, while the “good” person is genuinely generous and loving]. 8 But God ·shows [demonstrates; proves] His ·great [ own] love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Expanded Bible).*
“7 Finding someone who would die for a godly person is rare. Maybe someone would have the courage to die for a good person. 8 Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us” (GOD’s WORD Translation).*
“7-8 In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, even if the latter be a good man, though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us” (Phillips).*
We may be puzzled and confused about what is happening. We may be broken, devastated, reeling from an event, but what we never are is unloved by our Father.