Monday, March 14, 2016

As We Are?

Epictetus observed something that I believe Jesus observed as he stood outside of Jerusalem and wept.  "What punishment is there, you ask, for those who do not accept things in this spirit?  Their punishment is to be as they are."

Jesus weeps for Jerusalem.  If only the people of Jerusalem would have seen that their salvation ... their peace ... their king, walked past them.  If only the people of Jerusalem would have seen their failed political and religious system that had run together toward the death of one who had come to lead them forward.  If only they would have seen and grasped that change was the path to the freedom they desired.  But as W. H. Alden said, "We would rather be ruined than changed."

Both of these thoughts are, of course, related to that day when Jesus begins the very last leg of the journey that has spread healing, teaching and light over the entire nation of Israel.  From north to south, east to west, Jesus had led this nation in a way that offered a path to change who and what they were.  But rather than change they, that Palm Sunday, lay their cloaks on the road and welcome the one who (they thought) had come in the name of the Lord to deliver them from Rome and restore their nation to its greatness.

Little did they know that Jesus had, in fact, come to renew, restore and bring them to the greatness predicted in Genesis when God tells Abraham he will be the father of people who will become a blessing to the entire planet.  Little did they know that this man riding the foal of a donkey was God doing what Israel and all of its kings, all of its majesty and all of its spiritual haughtiness could not do ... provide the one and only path of salvation.  Little did they know that by rejecting this true king they rejected the change that would bring them to God's great path and lead them past the mess they had become.

A few listened and heard the message.  Do you hear?  Do you see?  Do you understand that Jesus won't do things through our politics, our labels, our self-righteous demands, our "systems" or our national pride?  Jesus will send change through the Church that is filled with Jesus and empowered through God's own Spirit.  Don't look to the mountain ... our salvation is not there.  Don't look to your party or political label ... if you do you are destined to stay just as you are.  Don't look to an election to make radical change because God's plan for change might just be a little more radical.  "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)."  Look to a God who not only predicted the Jews would become the source of His salvation.  He sent that salvation in the form of His own Son who lived, died and was resurrected.  My prayer is we seek His blessing (Jesus) and the change that is required to see that blessing. Randy

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