Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Excited About Jesus

Our desires can distract us from our greatest needs.

Luke 19:37-41  When He reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of His followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

38  "Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!"

39  But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, "Teacher, rebuke Your followers for saying things like that!"

40  He replied, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!"  41  But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep.

From the beginning of Jesus ministry there was alway a lot of excitement, Jesus didn't go very many places quietly, there was a noisy crowd with him and his disciples just about everywhere that they went.

As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, the city was all worked up about Passover, there was the normal festival excitement but this was so much more than that. This Passover came at a time when the local news featured miraculous stories about a man born blind that could finally see, a dead man that came back to life after three days and then there was also the thousands of people that were fed from a sack lunch.

Could this Jesus be the political Messiah that we have been looking for and is he getting ready to announce that he is going to take charge?

The excitement had intensified to a higher level than ever, the rumors and speculation were all over the city. the crowds loved the drama and they often daydreamed about the possibilities. Everyone knew that they needed better leaders and Jesus seemed to be the one that could bring them a better life.

Jesus tried to make it crystal clear that he wasn't rising up to power but instead he would be going down to the grave. What they thought would be Jesus moment of glory would quickly turn out to be a great humiliation.

It is too bad that their excitement for what Jesus was doing didn't equate to love for Jesus, too bad they were more interested in the temporary benefits of Jesus in the physical realm and they didn't perceive or care about the benefits that he would offer them in the spiritual realm.

They remind me of the generations of people in the Old Testament that saw many signs and miracles, they got to experience God close up and witness such mighty deeds, they would taste of his goodness and delight in him but soon they would push him aside.
The people of Israel, on the heels of unthinkable miracles, with their pockets full of Egyptian jewelry, grumble at their less-than-five-star accommodations in the desert. This wasn't just headache-induced grumbling or low-blood-sugar complaining. This was faithlessness.
-John Piper
We like to criticize the people in the Bible but most of the time we are them. Our pockets are full, we have homes that are more accommodating than most of the world, our stomachs are overfilled, and just like the Israelites we grumble about the Lord's goodness and we pray for even more blessings.

When my excitement for Jesus is based on what he can do for me it won't take long for the thrill to go away. It is easy to love and serve him when there is a perceived return on our investment in this life but when the flow of blessings seems to slow down we are easily disappointed and our willingness to serve can disappear.
1 Corinthians 15:19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
Our hope in Christ should be for the eternal benefits but too often our hope is for Christ to provide the perceived needs that we think that we have in this world. We begin to use Jesus for what he can do for us down here in the physical realm rather than focusing on what we can do for him because of what he has done for us in the spiritual realm.

After Jesus resurrection and ascension the disciples got a new focus, they realized that the purpose of his ministry wasn't to give them a better life now, their excitement was based on the reality of a better life later in Heaven.

Just like the disciples, we can go from being disappointed with Jesus to become excited about Jesus again, if we realize that our hope in Christ goes beyond our current situation. It is okay to pray for a better job, restored relationships or for healing but if our hope becomes focused on the things of this life then we are going to be disappointed because we will never have everything our way.

Forgive me Lord for being so fickle, for losing my excitement and for trying to get you to fulfill my plans, I need to stay focused on your purpose for my life.