Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph, and it brought joy to the people. However their joy was a complete misunderstanding of His ministry. The crowds thought Jesus would usher in a new era for Israel by breaking the Roman bondage, ending their poverty, and making Israel supreme.
Jesus did have a vision when he entered the city. It was the vision of a redeemed earth, and the peace of God would come upon all men by the way of His Cross. His joy was the certainty that by the way of His Cross and His passion that he could remake men at the center of their being, so that they could be pure, clean, holy, and conformed to the character of God.
There was quite a contrast between the people’s joy, and Jesus’ vison. May I ask, “What is your joy in the presence of this King?” Does it match that of the crowds or that of the King’s? Is it your vision that Jesus will establish a materially perfect world? Such a vision makes you selfish like the crowds, and in the end will cause you to change your singing of, “Hosanna,” into the cry of, “Crucify Him.” Is your joy that of the king’s? If so, then it is a Godly joy. Such a conviction enables you to suffer, enables you to dare all things, gives you the faith to move mountains, and makes you a victor, for you are in fellowship with the triumphant King.
Share His Vision,
Matt 19:29 records Jesus’ promise of a, “A hundred fold blessing.” Shortly after that promise Peter said, “We have left everything to follow you. What is left for us?” The statement was one of pride for the good work the disciples had done, and the question was a negotiations for payment for that work. There is a great deal of revelation here about Peter, for he revealed what was on his heart. Instead of trusting God he was demanding to know, “What is in this for me?”
Fast forward to today and let me ask, “Christian are you now receiving a hundred fold blessing from God?” If you are not receiving such a blessing is it because you are negotiating with Jesus. Are you saying, “Jesus, I’ve given you my heart, now what will you now do for me?” Are you saying, “Jesus I will walk with you, if you will reward me.” Such thoughts, and statements are rebellion against Jesus and therefore against God.
If you are a Christian Jesus has already saved you completely. If you have accepted Jesus offer of salvation then it is an accomplished fact, and it is sinful of you to ask Him to do more than what he has already done. It is now your job as a Christian to simply trust Jesus and do what is right, and to get about the business of His Kingdom. If you will do that, then your blessing will truly be, “A hundred fold.”
A rich young ruler came to Jesus seeking answers to questions. His questions were sincere, for he did not have any ulterior motives. The man had much going for him. He was moral, rich, and obedient to the Laws of Moses, yet he knew God was requiring more of him. He asked, “What … must I do to get eternal life?” What does eternal life mean? Does it mean a continuation of the life we presently live? No, for the young man was aware that his present life was lacking.
The young man sounds like us, for we too know our present life is lacking. We seek eternal life, yet we do not know how to obtain it. We are aware of the infinite and hear its call, yet do not know how to grasp it. We hear echoes of the eternal, and do not know how to obtain it. Our record appears clean, yet we know it is not. The answers to our questions leaves us hungry, thus we ache for more. Nothing we do brings us rest, and so we attempt to take hold of a life that will satisfy the deepest in us. We know there is more than flesh. We know there is more than we already possess.
In summary what is our cry? It is the cry of God’s lost child calling out after their Abba God. We are seeking God, seeking life, and all this before we ever come to Christ.
The Pharisees continually confronted Jesus with their interpretations of the law. In order to be right they had to make God wrong. When anyone attempts to make God wrong they essentially make gods of themselves. Jesus response to such god making is to take us back to the narrow gate with its narrow road (Cf. Matt 7:14).
Jesus takes us back because he desires to restore what was lost in the garden. He beckons us back so that he can restore our life to the way it is supposed to be with God. Go back with Him. Walk with Him. Talk to Him, and let him talk to you. Then, suddenly, in the midst of the conversation you will say, “Did not my heart burn within me while He talked to me by the way,” (Cf. Luke 24:32).
Jesus takes us back not to live in the past, but so that we will know where he is leading. Where is Jesus leading us? He is leading us out of this world so that he can lead us into a place where, “There will be no curse, the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servant will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamb or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
Jesus said, “Where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst,” (Matt. 18:20). Here is a revelation of the power of Jesus’ Church; the promise of His presence within the church when it has fulfilled the conditions He laid down.
Two words stand out in His statement, “Where,” and “there.” They explain how the church can have the ethical authority that commands attention in world gone wrong. How does the church obtain such ethical authority that commands the world’s attention? It is where the conditions of Jesus statements are met, there He will be in our midst.
You cannot be a church of one, though many today are trying that. There must be two or more and not the individual. I’m not saying a person cannot still pray alone, but I’m commenting on what Jesus is talking about – His church. The principle that is to be met is, “Gathered together in My Name.” It means where people gather to receive His salvation, gather to be made pure, gather to submit to His authority, and gather to be ruled by Him. Under those conditions there He will be. Anyplace where two or more are gathered in Jesus name, and who have yielded themselves to his conditions there He will be.
The church that knows the where and there of Jesus presence knows when it gathers, when it prays, when it asks, and when it yields that it is His church unconquerable.
In the days before Pentecost the disciples had not only the physical presence of Jesus, but the O. T. Scripture, fasting, and prayer. Yet we read how Jesus was continually frustrated with them. Also Jesus was telling them what he was going to do, but what He was saying wasn’t getting past their own theology; it was getting in the way of them hearing Jesus.
The actions of the disciples teach how we frustrate Jesus today. Today the Christian not only has the completed Scriptures, prayer, and fasting, but we also have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the church. And we have even more. We have the power to move mountains. We have God’s wisdom if we will ask for it and believe we have it. We are told the gates of Hades cannot stand against our confession of faith. We are promised that nothing can separate us from God. We are promised that all are sins are forgiven. We are promised that all we have to do is ask, seek and knock, yet we stand around with our arms hanging down, lacking power, and failing to experience the power of the Christian life.
The power of the Christian life is available to you if you would just have it. Paul wrote, “Put on the full armor of God.” Isn’t it time you stopped being a Marvin or a Mary Milk-toast and do what Paul said to do? Isn’t it time you began acting like a citizen of the Kingdom?
Has there ever been a time when you thought you knew Jesus very well, and then suddenly He seem to pivot and head in a new direction. At that time did Jesus seem quite different to you? Did the Jesus you knew suddenly seem like a contradiction to you? Was it because He was leading you in a direction that you did not want to go, or even want to think about?
The reason for His change lies in the severity of his call. Jesus is committed to the building of the Kingdom God, and his church. He is committed to the battle against all the forces that are against God and man, and He must have those associated with Him be just as committed. Jesus in his day gathered many people around him, and even today He gathers many people around him, but those who follow always find a strange sifting going on by Him. He is always asking, “Will you go where I’m going?”
Like the prophet Nehemiah who rebuilt Jerusalem with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other, so Jesus came to build and fight! Jesus says to anyone who follows him, “Deny yourselves, and take up My cross.” The battle Jesus is fighting will not be won by popular acclaim, but by solid building and hard fighting. Jesus asks, “Who is coming with me? Who will fight? Who will build?” If our answer is, “I will go!” Then we must be ready for change.
The superlative desire of Jesus is to teach His followers His mind. Paul states this is so, “We have the mind of Christ” (1Cor. 2:16). What is the desire of Christ for us? That we would have His mind, for wisdom of the world leads to nothing. What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? When exploring this question three things seem to emerge: The beauty of Holiness, the possibilities for things lost, and the beauty in claiming lost things.
What is, “The beauty of holiness,” (Ps 96:9)? We know that Jesus came from God, (Cf. John 17:3), and because Jesus came from God it was written of Him, “How great is His goodness, how great is His beauty,” (Zech. 9:17). God sent Jesus, consequently all things were viewed by Jesus through that relationship, and the issue of holiness is always beauty.
When Jesus came into the world He found beauty spoiled. Despite what he found, He knew that everything had the possibility of restoration, renewal, and recreation. He knew this because He knew God and that gave Him a conviction of the possibilities for lost things.
Jesus knew the beauty of holiness, and the possibility for things lost, and therefore He considered His death on the cross to be the highest glory that could be granted to Him. Through His death God’s beauty would be known in creation, and those things lost would be restored. This was the master inspiration of His mind, and thus he emptied Himself!
Good morning and happy Easter to you. Thank you for sharing this Resurrection Day with North Valley Christian Church. In our regular Sunday service we have been working our way through the Book of Matthew, but today we are taking a break from our regular service to celebrate the most important day in the history of all creation; the day Jesus rose from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus goes back to the beginning of time when God promised He would do it, and the patriarchs put their faith in that promise. The prophets foretold of it and the scribes preserved it. The Psalmist wrote songs about it, and the faithful sang about it. As improbably as it sounds Jesus did it, and today the faithful know it.
Some two thousand years ago God’s grace and mercy kissed on Calvary’s Hill, and three days later bad news lost for all time when Jesus rose from the dead. What does Jesus empty tomb mean to someone today? It means on that day Jesus seized death by the throat and defeated it. On that day the world went from frustration to restoration by the resurrection of Jesus. And on this day we celebrate what Jesus’ resurrection does for us.
Jesus, what a Savior,