10 Days with Jesus – Day 4
When was the last time you cried?
I don’t mean a misty-eyed-could-have-been-the-pollen cried but – CRIED. The kind of tears that make your eyes burn and your heart heavy. The kind you can’t hold back even if you wanted to. How long has it been since you cried like that? Maybe it’s been awhile. Maybe it was last night. Either way, you’re not alone – Jesus wept too.
10 Days with Jesus is an online journey that will immerse you into the final days of Jesus the Messiah. One thing is for sure, if you spend 10 Days with Jesus – you’ll never be the same again!
Jesus is the Messiah who Weeps.
Early on that Monday morning . . . “as Jesus came near the city of Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” ~ Luke 19:41
If you’re a parent you know why Jesus cried – his children were in trouble. Jesus had come to earth for the sole purpose of rescuing his children back to their Father, but they had refused to recognize him as their Messiah. Jesus came to bring hope to the hopeless, sight to the blind, and life to the dead. And as of right now – his children were hopeless, blind, and spiritually dead.
Have you ever prayed over your sleeping child? Wept over the deceit they had believed? Cried out for God to get their attention and change their direction? Have you ever stood in the front yard, looked into the heavens, and cried – Oh My God!!!
Jesus did and I have too.
I’m assuming you’ve been there too. And it hurts. It hurts to watch those you love the most hurt the most. It pangs you to know there is a solution and watch them blow off their own salvation. It hurt Jesus too. It moved him to tears to overlook the city that was called to be the epicenter of worship to God his Father.
But there she sat in all her spiritual pride, her festivities, and her blindness. The city of Jerusalem was filled with religion but was empty of salvation. They were separated from their creator. Their God. Their Father. So the Son cried.
What about Your City?
When was the last time you cried over your city? Your community? Your family? When was the last time you put aside progress to notice a person? Tabled your agenda to sit at the table? When was the last time you went out of your way to help others find their way?
Austin, Texas is my home! I’m originally from Georgia but it didn’t take long to abandon my roots and act like I’ve been here all my life. (I even bought cowboy boots – but I refuse to trade in the baseball cap) What’s not to love about Austin – it’s the live music capital of the world, home to an incredible food scene, and minutes away from the Texas Hill Country. But here’s the truth about my city . . .
My City is LOST.
Over 1 million people in Austin TX have no personal relationship with the God of the Bible! Right in the middle of incredible culture, brilliant scholars, and budding entrepreneurs – are the same people Jesus wept over on that Monday morning. What about your city? Have you closed your eyes to the lostness of your city? Have you settled into a rhythm and don’t even notice? Do you see your city the way Jesus sees your city? Do you see your co-workers the way Jesus sees them? Your Family? Your Self? Here’s the truth about your city . . .
Jesus said it this way in John 12:35-36, “Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
The Kingdom is NEAR.
Here’s where it gets a bit harder. We can’t just stand on the outside and wish things were different. Gathering into a holy huddle on Sunday and praying for the lost will never be enough. If we really want to bring light to our city . . . we have to actually ENTER the city. We have to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. We have to serve others. We have to ask questions. We have to be uncomfortable. We have to GO NEAR.
Jesus modeled what NEAR looked like when he came as a baby. It wasn’t enough for him to look down from the high perch of heaven and wish things were different. It wasn’t enough for him to pray for our rescue. There was only one thing He could do to make a difference. Jesus came NEAR.
John 1:14 says it this way . . . “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us.” He went on to say in vs. 18 . . . that Jesus came “to reveal God to us.” The Mission of Jesus was to come NEAR with the message. It’s our mission too.
It’s HIS Church.
But there was a reason the city was so lost. It had been led astray by religious leaders and teachers. The very group that was supposed to prepare the way for God’s coming was the group that was blocking the way to the Kingdom. Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13 . . . “You shut the door to the Kingdom of Heaven in peoples faces.” (BTW – that speech got pretty brutal by the time Jesus was done chewing them out.) Here’s why it got ugly . . .
The Pharisees had become their own Gods. They were the professional do-gooders of the day. They were the charter members of the “We’re Better Than Anyone Else” club. Religion had officially trumped a relationship with God, and they were the boss when it came to religion.
Jesus was about to show them who was boss . . .
“Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7), but you have turned it into a Den of Thieves.’ (Jeremiah 7:11)” ~ Mark 11:15-17
The Temple had become a place of business instead of a place of worship, and Jesus was furious. Nothing angered Jesus more than to see religious rules trump a personal relationship. His harshest words and actions weren’t towards those who knew they were sinners . . . they were directed towards those who thought they were righteous. And here’s why – Jesus knew that they were all sinners, and that “no one could come to the Father except through HIM.” ~ John 14:6
As a 45 year-old preachers son, I’ve seen this dilemma far too often. We’re tempted to build and attend churches that entertain us, cater to us, fill us, and make us happy, but . . . The Church isn’t about US – the Church is about JESUS. It’s His church and He wants it full of his lost children. My friends – it’s time to open the doors and welcome everyone into the “House of prayer for ALL PEOPLE.”
Jesus said in Matthew 22:9 . . . “‘Go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.”
Clean YOUR Temple.
There’s one final word hidden in the passage for today – The Church isn’t a group of nameless people, it’s a gathering of individual people. So before we get all high-and-mighty on how the Church has become high-and-mighty . . . let’s remember that it’s your primary duty to clean yourself first.
Peter said in 1 Peter 4:17 . . . “Judgment must begin with God’s household – it begins with us.” The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that . . . “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” So . . . hows your Temple? Is it full of things that are bossing you around? Is Jesus on the thrown of your life? Maybe it’s time to stop blaming the CHURCH and start cleaning your OWN Temple.
What about You?
Do you see your city as Lost?
Do you weep with compassion over God’s lost Children?
Have you been attending Church or being the Church?
What needs cleansing in your Temple?