Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Matthew 21:1-17


Post by James Russell.

Do I know you Jesus?

It seems from the blogs I've followed that there is a theme of Jesus being someone quite different from who the people of his day thought he was going to be, and possibly who we think he is.

The question I want to wrestle with in this blog is if we truly know Jesus.

As a kid growing up in a Christian community, I always knew that Jesus was my saviour. I had kind of heard of him being my Lord, but didn't really know what a Lord was except it being another name for him. Instead of Mr Jesus, it was Lord Jesus.

Matt 21:1-17 is about Jesus asserting his authority over Jerusalem as their King. Jesus rides into the city on a donkey, and clears the temple of the commerce going on inside it. This seems quite tame until we look into it a bit more.

In Luke's account of the triumphal entry, Jesus weeps over the city as he is approaching it and pronounces judgement on it by prophesying its destruction (which commonly held was fulfilled in AD 70 in the Roman Siege of Jerusalem) saying it was "..because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you." Luke 19:41-44

This was not just a "symbolic spiritual" Judgement, this was the real deal. After 5 months of Siege, Jerusalem's walls were battered down by the Roman army. Over 1million Jews were slaughtered and 95,000 captives were taken as prisoners to Caesarea. From 70AD to 1948, Israel was wiped off the map.

Jesus was talking about the temple in Matt 24:2 and said.."I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down".

How intense is that? Jesus pronounces judgement on Jerusalem and 1 million people die.

Now I am no theologian, this is what my study bible and a few bible helps say. But how radical is this when we look at who the bible teaches Jesus to be? Isn't the good news of the gospel that we have been saved from the righteous wrath of God, which was poured out on Jesus instead of us? That we are judged right before God because we receive Jesus' righteousness. And that He paid for us the penalty of death and eternal torment in hell that we all deserve.

I have been studying the attributes of God this year, and have discovered how low my view of God has been. I have realised that Jesus, as shown in Matt 21:1-17, is very much a King.

I do not want to be the angry judgement guy that completely neglects the fact that Jesus was weeping as he pronounced this judgement. He wept over the city and after pronouncing the 7 woes He says often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.." Matt 23:37

I do however want to ask this question: are we still wrestling to love all of Jesus?

After all he is a man of incredible diversity in his attributes and emotions.

Here are some attributes of his as an example.

· Infinite highness and infinite condescension.

· Infinite justice and infinite grace.

· Infinite glory and lowest humility.

When I ponder these qualities of my Lord Jesus, I begin to wonder how much I really know him. This lent may we come humbly before God acknowledging our lack. That we might by grace become what God is by nature.

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