January 30, 2023, 9:00 AM

“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you wouldn’t let Me. And now you’re desolate, nothing but a ghost town. What is there left to say?”
Matthew 23:37-38
The Message

One of the saddest pictures in all of Scripture is when King Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He’d just recently entered Jerusalem on a donkey to an overwhelming reception (The Triumphal Entry), but when Israel realized He wasn’t the kind of leader they wanted - the shouts of “Hosanna!” quickly turned to “Crucify Him!”

Autonomy, independence, customs, traditions, protocols, ceremonies, religious routines, and “the familiar” meant more to them than anything - including Messiah.

As King Jesus revealed, it wasn’t anything new. The nation of Israel had a well-chronicled history of rejecting, persecuting, and murdering God’s prophets, i.e. those sent to warn people of their waywardness. That’s pretty much the story of the Old Testament.

“Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.” 2 Ki 17:41

The underlying issue was never King Jesus’ style of preaching, His hairstyle, or His clothes. Instead it boiled down to their love for darkness rather than The Light (John 3:19).

It’s easy for us today to look at Israel and say, “Wow! How’d they miss it?” But the truth is we’re no different. We merely have different idols we’re hesitant or unwilling to relinquish. We have our own customs, traditions, protocols, ceremonies, programs, religious routines, and all “the familiar” we choose over Messiah. Scripture reveals many calling themselves Christians are of the Ananias & Sapphira variety - more interested in being part of something exciting and new - being entertained rather than transformed and redeemed (2 Tim 4:3-4).

We’ll readily welcome our “idea” and conception of Jesus with joyful shouts - just as they did. But what happens when God sends people (Eph 4:11-12) who challenge our positions, titles, ideas, power, traditions, and customs by calling for every idol to be torn down in order to usher in real revival? That’s when many, like the rich young ruler, walk away downtrodden. That’s when others, like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus for some pocket change. That’s precisely when what we -truly- value is exposed.

What’s truly in your heart? Is it Christ, The Light of the world, or a love of darkness?

Grace and peace,