A grey one here on the prairie and we have experienced basically all four seasons this week.
I finished the book of Luke in my annual walk through the Bible today. As I read the most detailed account in the Gospels of Jesus’ final days on earth, I was struck by the plotting and anger of the pharisees against Him. So much energy expended by them to trap Him. So much angst and frustration in their pursuit of eliminating Him. So much calculating and scheming on their part, so much focus and peace on His.
In Chapter 20 they ask Him a question and when He responds with a different question, they enter into a debate amongst themselves and theorize about how to answer in a way that will still prove Him wrong but not upset the crowd or mar their stand on the popular side of things. They can’t answer truthfully or honestly because they chose image over integrity.
As I read through this Gospel I was struck from beginning to end at how much anger Jesus stirred up just sharing the Good News of the Kingdom being at hand and calling for repentance and faith to believe God through the prophets. Come to think of it, the prophets all stirred up a fair amount of wrath and anger. And why?
Why, with all that was going on in and around to oppress the Jews, did the one who came to proclaim freedom become the one they got so angry with?
I know in our day and age people inside and outside the Church like to call out the pharisee spirit of Christians, but why are we missing the anger towards Christ and His Church that comes from those who operate from the laws of men and not the laws of God?
When Christians are attacked and mocked and laughed at, why do we hang our heads and say apologetically that we could have done better? Yes, if we have acted in ways that are not biblical, if we have not truly understood and applied the teachings of Christ, we should be corrected. But when we are simply living out what we have read and learned from Christ’s teachings and we are viciously held up to scorn and ridicule and basically tried and convicted for being the worst kind of person…well…we can only look to the example of Christ on trial by the Chief Priest and Sanhedrin and on and on and realize what is happening.
If Christianity is really as foolish and trivial as many in our culture seem to think it is, why do such big guns come out to limit the work of those who are faith – based? Because the truth is Jesus is who He claimed to be and the enemy of God knows it and incites this anger and division. He also loves it when we, as believers, join in the fray.
I noticed Pilate said repeatedly that the evidence they had presented against Christ was bogus. He even declared Herod found no valid case against Him for any crime since he had returned him to Jerusalem. Yet the mob was incited and the insanity of releasing someone who was a known criminal in exchange for an innocent man happened.
And the only one who had the right and the power to stop the whole charade remained silent, calm and surrendered.
Where are you and I in this story? I hope steadfastly by the side of Jesus Christ.
All the shouting and shenanigans and deceptions and intrigue of 2020 and the years leading up to it, and the fruit that has been sown by injustices and hypocrisies and power struggles from the very beginning should bring us quietly to our knees. In humility and with a sincere heart of faith, we can lift our hands to the One who went before us and we can seek direction and guidance for how to live justly and to love mercy as He did.
Prayer is a powerful tool for us in these days.
If you live locally there are two opportunities to join with others in prayer this weekend and one national event to participate in:
Saturday morning there is March for Peace. Gathering at the court house at 8 AM with a 9 AM start time, the march will proceed to the Civic Center where there will be a time of prayer for Peace.
Sunday afternoon at 3:30 PM there will be prayer gatherings led by members of FCC at the following places in our community:
Illini Park in Warrensburg
Fairview Park Decatur West End
Forsyth Park in Forsyth
Prairie Park in Argenta
Fletcher Park in Argenta
The Block 1541 N Church St in Decatur
And finally, there has been a call for a day of prayer and fasting throughout our country on Sunday.
In the midst of the all the snarky stuff going on, please take Him at His word.
If My people…the ones who bear MY NAME…will humble themselves, pray and seek My face…and turn from their evil ways (still talking about His people here…not the world at large..just His people)…Then, when they do this, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:14 my paraphrase
This was a specific promise to God’s people regarding Solomon’s prayer for Israel, but this is God’s heart and He is faithful and consistent with His promises.
Hope to see you at one or more of the prayer events.