The goodness of Jesus. It defies explanation and comprehension and it poured out of him. For us.
2 Chronicles 7:14
Upon entering the temple, Jesus was appalled. Appalled enough to disrupt everything that was going on. The scene must have been chaotic and unexpected. The merchants and bystanders must have been up in arms but Jesus didn’t care. His Father’s house had been marred by greed and injustice and he had come to set things right.
“My temple will be a place of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves,” Jesus declared.
Instead of finding the people of God seeking him in prayer, he found swindlers and thieves, people who were far more concerned about their own gain than the will of God. It was common enough then and it still is now. We forget that the heart of Jesus was to turn our attention toward God. We forget that we should be marked by prayer instead of our own pursuits.
The good news is that there is a remedy. Jesus marched into the temple and rid it of the mess of greed and selfishness, he can do the same for our own hearts. If we seek him and turn from our ways, if we choose to humble ourselves and commit to seeking him, he will heal our land.
Set aside time today to pray. Not just a quick prayer but a solid amount of time without any distractions. Remember what Jesus said. “For everyone who asks receives. Everyone who seeks finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.”
Use 2 Chronicles and Luke 11 as a guide for your prayers today. Pray that Jesus would be honored in your life and in the lives of those around you. That God’s kingdom would come and that his will be done. Pray that people would come to Salvation this Easter season! Pray for your needs, for forgiveness, and for strength not to yield to temptation. Pray that God would heal our land, that our city would turn away from selfishness and worthless pursuits towards Jesus.
Can you picture it? The anguish on Jesus’ face? It’s so at odds with the raucous display around him. Everyone is cheering and celebrating as he enters the city of Jerusalem but Jesus in all of his love and wisdom is devastated for them.
You see, he knew what was coming. He knew that their displays of praise and affection would be as fleeting as a single breath. He knew that they completely misunderstood his purpose and his power. While those around him cheered for him, they assumed he would be a military leader who would overthrow the Roman empire and free them politically.
Instead, Jesus would overthrow sin and the grave and free them spiritually. Free us spiritually. And then, he would be rejected by so many because his purposes were far greater than they imagined.
While Jesus weeps here in Luke 19, he’s picturing what would come about forty years later. In A.D. 70, Titus, son of the Roman emperor Vespasian sieged Jerusalem in response to a Jewish revolt. By the end, the city laid fallen and burned and over six thousand Jews had been killed. A devastating conclusion to their rejection of their Savior.
Jesus’ response to this rejection was heartbreak. His tears flowed freely as he thought about those who would choose to live without his love and freedom.
What is our response when we think about those around us who have rejected Jesus? Do we weep over our city? Do our hearts break at the thought of someone in our sphere of influence rejecting the opportunity God has offered?
We should be overcome with sadness when we think about them. We should weep and pray and try and change it.
As you go about your day today, think about those around you who don’t know Jesus. Allow your mind and heart to contemplate what life might be like for them. Are they anxious? Lonely? Struggling with sin? Then, don’t stop there. Employ empathy. Let your heart break as you think about life for them without Jesus and let that devastation compel you to share Jesus with them.
Pray that God would awaken in you a burden for those around you who don’t know him.
Pray that he would help you share the comfort and joy of knowing Christ with those who need it.
What if we gave it all, everything our hearts had to offer and we just kept pouring it out for Him? We kept offering it to the dirty and forgotten parts of this world, offering our love and service to them like she did to His feet? What if we didn’t care if serving Him was messy and required sacrifice and heartache? What if our pride and vanity were forgotten and we let it all get saturated, dripping, sopping wet with the stuff of loving and serving him and others?
Day One: The Sunday Gathering
You arrive at the hope denver worship service to find a few college students locking up their bikes outside. A young family walks across the street from their Denver bungalow home and checks their children in for Sunday school. A woman from the retirement community down the road is being greeted by two smiling faces on the welcome team. There’s an energy and excitement in the air
Four years ago, Pastor Peter Henderson and I got on the stage at Living Way Fellowship to announce to the congregation that I would be resigning my appointment as the worship pastor at Living Way to move to Canada to get a PhD. I thought I was putting my days in pastoral ministry behind me. I was mistaken.