The following notes describe what we have been thinking regarding the Christian walk. These all relate to Jesus' final week before the crucifixion. We hope they will help you on your own spiritual journey.
Thoughts for You
"the stones would cry out"
How tremendously significant this seemingly haphazard event! Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem and people begin spontaneously to shout “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord...” The Pharisees cry out “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus responds, “If these should keep silent, the stones would cry out.”
You see, this was not haphazard at all! In the words of the prophet Zechariah, “Behold your king is coming unto you, lowly and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The King has come to His own and His own would not receive Him. My friend, let this never be said of you, that Christ came to be King of your life and you would not receive Him. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.”
The time is now
Strange, isn’t it? Here is Jesus riding into Jerusalem -- what we call the Triumphal Entry. People are shouting hosanna. But Jesus is in tears. Why? It’s because instead of the beauty of the city and the glory of the temple, He saw devastation and ruin. “Your enemies will surround you...and level you and your children within you to the ground...and will not leave one stone upon another.” Why? “Because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Dear friend, opportunities do not last forever. How long has Jesus been knocking at your door? The time of your visitation is now. Don’t let it pass.
Prayer or Merchandise?
When Jesus strode into the temple that Palm Sunday, was he pleased? Hardly. “My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And He drove them all out.
How is it with your heart? Is it a place of prayer or a house of merchandise; a place of worship or of business as usual? Notice that when Jesus comes in, He has to clean house before He can be at home.
From Heaven or from Men?
“By what authority do you do these things?” they asked. “Who gave you this authority?” In reply Jesus said “First let Me ask you a question. The baptism of John...from heaven or from men?” They didn’t believe it was from heaven, but were afraid to say so. So they answered “We don’t know.” So Jesus said, “Then I won’t answer your question either.”
But if we think about it, the answer to their question was hidden inside of His. If the baptism of John was from heaven -- and it was -- then Jesus own baptism shows where His authority comes from. Consider the following: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”...”I saw the Spirit like a dove descending and remaining upon Him”...”This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
It all comes down to a matter of belief, doesn’t it? To say “we don’t know“ is an agnostic’s reply. Have you come to accept His authority over your own life?
To "Caeser" and to God
“Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” -- a loaded question if there ever was one. A simple yes or no answer would have gotten Him in trouble, either with the people or with the Romans. But, or course, Jesus saw right through their duplicity. “Show Me a coin...Whose image is stamped on it?”... (Caesar’s)...””Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
Two thoughts here. First, are you a law-abiding citizen -- not only paying your taxes, but rendering to those in authority what is due in every other way? “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”
Second, and more importantly, do you “Render to God what is God’s.?” Our pennies are stamped with the image of Abraham Lincoln, but there is something else that is stamped with the image of God. You are, my friend, and so am I. What we owe to God is ourselves.
How Many Mites?
You’ve heard the story. A widow put her two mites in the offering at the temple. And Jesus said she had put in more than all the rich because she put in her entire living. This simple story contains some penetrating principles. For example, its not the size of the gift that matters to God; it is the personal sacrifice and the heart behind it. You are rewarded for what you give in proportion to what you have -- not what you don’t.
But there’s more. Let the two mites represent the degree of dedication of our lives to the Lord. Is it none, is it some, or is it all? In a way, it’s good she had two mites instead of just one, because it makes the choice clearer. She could have said “I’ve only got two mites, I can’t afford it.” Or she could have said “I’ll give one to God and keep the other to live on.” But she didn’t. Instead, she gave it all and put her complete trust in God. After that, do you think God would let her down? If you likewise trust Him with all of your life, do you think He will ever let you down? No, “He is faithful Who has promised.”
Rise and Pray
Gethsemane! Agony! “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Here is the sinless Jesus, taking on Himself all the sin of all the world for all time, sweat like drops of blood pouring from Him, angels coming to strengthen Him for the coming crucifixion. Where are the disciples in all of this? Sleeping for sorrow. What had Jesus told them to do? “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” So He says again, “Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
The lesson: Don’t be caught unprepared for the trials you may be about to face. “Lead us not into temptation” is vital. Don’t be caught napping when the tempter comes. Rise and pray!