Monday, December 29, 2008

Rejected? (Luke 20-24)

I identify with the people in Luke’s gospel. They have flocked to Jesus from all over Galilee and Judea, to hear and to be healed. They have travelled with him to Jerusalem and he has been teaching them in the temple. They come early, listening, hanging on his words. His enemies cannot touch him for fear of them… until Judas provides a time and a place away from them and He is arrested. What will the people do? They, who hung on his every word? They cry out, ‘AWAY WITH HIM!’ They shout, ‘CRUCIFY HIM!’

One day they marvel, the next they mock. Sunday morning worship becomes Monday morning weariness. Can you see yourself in the crowd? What can we learn from them?

1. The Christ must be rejected. Satan could not tempt him from this path; Judas could not force his hand; Peter could not protect him; and the people cannot fight for him. First, Jesus must suffer; for it is written. It is God’s plan for the salvation of his people. Second, he must suffer; blood must be shed. There is no other way to bring forgiveness. Third, he must suffer because only he is able to do this work. No one else and nothing else can be the sacrifice before God that will atone for sin and bring forgiveness.

2. We also would reject him but for the work of the Spirit in our lives. The work and worth of the cross is spiritually discerned. Unless God shines his light into our hearts, filling us with his Spirit of wisdom, we also are one of that crowd. We also would desert him, deny him, betray him, mock him.

3. We also will be rejected if we follow him. In inviting people to follow him He said, ‘bear your own cross’ and ‘count the cost’. He warns, ‘You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death (Luke 22:16).’ This is not a word only to the apostles, but also to us, as ‘everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’ (2 Timothy 3:12).

4. We will be rejected if we do not follow him. If fear of men and their swords keeps us from following Christ, Jesus warns that He will reject us on the day of Judgement.

Will you fear the crowd, or will you fear God?

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