Thursday, March 25, 2010
Today’s Topic: Worship for the Right Reason
Today’s Text: 2 Peter 3:15 (NIV) Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…
Luke 19:41 (NIV) As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it…
This Sunday is a special day on the church calendar. We call it Palm Sunday, the day Jesus made His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. But from the Savior’s perspective, it was excruciatingly hard. So hard it made Him weep.
Here was Jesus, the Messiah, who had come to rescue people from their sin, and they were celebrating His arrival into the capital city for the wrong reason. They had been healed from their diseases but had failed to look beyond their own superficial needs to the spiritual condition of their hearts. They had been fed bread and fish miraculously, but had failed to see their real need of spiritual food. They had heard the words of a King speaking about a kingdom, but failed to see the true spiritual kingdom of which He spoke. They wanted only their current political status revolutionized.
As the people swarmed around Him they began to praise Him. They shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Jesus permitted it because it was the truth, even though the worshippers did not fully grasp the significance of their own words. When the “religious” leaders of His day asked Jesus to rebuke the people for speaking such things, He defended their worship by saying, “I tell you if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
But the reality for Jesus was that His heart was breaking. How He longed for the people He came to save to worship Him for the right reason. As He came around the bend in the road so that the elevated view of the city of Jerusalem was visible, that reality broke His heart. He saw the city of the King being run by selfish and greedy leaders who had declared themselves the super-spiritual of their day. He saw His truth being twisted so that it did nothing more than build man’s own kingdom. He saw people living under the deception and in bondage to sin. He knew that even in this hour of His presentation to the people as their King that they would soon turn their backs on Him and demand His death. As a result, He wept.
Even as He wept, the Savior spoke, and the people once again failed to truly hear. He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
The same attitude of those people that broke the heart of our Lord is still prevalent today. Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that proves it. It was just two words – TRY JESUS! How sad. How heartbreaking. It may seem to you at first to be a good thing, but that is exactly my point. We have been deceived into believing that Jesus is just the latest thing to try to get us where we want to be. It is so self-centered, just like the people who were fed and healed. As long as Jesus meets our needs we will stick with Him. But we quickly jump off the wagon when a wheel breaks. That’s heartbreaking because it’s not what Jesus intended.
Jesus desires surrender, not trying. He weeps when we use Him for our benefit, and we will end up weeping as well. We will rejoice when we surrender. We will conquer only after we are conquered. We will only find the provisions to our felt needs when we first surrender our will to the Master and have our sin needs met in Christ. Salvation is not our attempt to find an answer to our needs; salvation is God’s gift of rescuing us from our sin. Salvation is not a self-help, five-step plan to recovery: salvation is the sacrifice of self and deliverance from self so that the life of Christ replaces ours.
May you worship the Messiah in truth this Easter season.