Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passion Week

8:17 p.m. Today's project is to consider the last week of Jesus' earthly life, beginning with cries of "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" and ending with cries of "Crucify Him!" spoken by the very same people. (Luke 19:38a, John 19:6) Yet Jesus, while accepting and acknowledging the rightful praise of the people, did not bask in it for long. He later wept, agonizing over Jerusalem, knowing that the city would be utterly destroyed. The reason? "because you did not know the time of your visitation." (Luke 19:44) The Jews did not recognize their Messiah and as He well knew, would be complicit, along with the Gentile Romans, in His death within a week.

Fickle, foolish, fatally flawed human beings--just like us! Our generation has had the benefit of the written record of Jesus, from His virgin birth to His miraculous earthly ministry, to His glorious resurrection from the tomb, for over 2,000 years. This historical record is known as the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The gospel means, "good news." Jesus came to earth to live among people, ultimately to die for our sins, taking our place on the cross, that we might live forever forgiven, and be fit to live in the presence of God for eternity.

The most important figure in history brought the most important news with Him--fickle, foolish and fatally flawed people like you and me can have our sins forgiven, be right with God, and saved from damnation in hell! Romans 10: 9 tells us, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." And that means anybody! Romans 10:13 then adds, "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

Yet we see hesitation, fear, and outright refusal to come to Christ, repent of sins, and be forgiven, born again, in so many of our friends and family members! Despite the written record of the Bible, where Jesus' coming is prophesied from Genesis to Malachi in the Old Testament; the vivid depiction of our Savior's life and teaching in the gospels; and the witness and instruction so abundantly provided for us in the Acts of the Apostles and the letters from those apostles; and the terrifying last days' warnings of Revelation, we experience struggle and rejection as we continue to invite our loved ones to be saved.

Be encouraged, believer! Continue to pray for that opening or event that the Holy Spirit will use to open the eyes of the one you are crying out to God for! 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

God was certainly longsuffering to me! At age 28, living in sin, doing just fine, thank you very much, I had absolutely no intention of getting saved when I went forward at an altar call! But I am sure that my parents had been praying for me and believers I was barely aware of, were praying, too.

As we go toward Easter Sunday, the most heavily attended church service of the year, by believers and unbelievers alike (if for no other reason than tradition), think of the one who invited you to church or to a crusade, thank them, pray for them, and in obedience to Jesus, "go and do likewise."

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