Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Promises Beyond

Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Goals and deadlines seem to be the bane of our existence. From work schedules, school schedules, monthly bills, doctor visits, and even entertainment, we are strongly encouraged to “be on time.” That’s simple enough, isn’t it?

What if it’s an unpleasant thing that we have to go through to get to peace, joy, and fulfillment? Do we delay it ‘til the last minute, or carry through to get it out of the way? For example: Every time I have a dental appointment coming up to have my teeth cleaned by the hygienist, I can count on a tooth hurting two weeks before the appointment. Without fail, two weeks before, the same tooth gives me a warning, every time!

Then I begin to worry: is this my two week warning, or is this tooth going to give me a lot of trouble and pain? Honest! Same tooth, two weeks before my appointment. (No, I don’t believe in psychic teeth!) But do I call to see if there’s a sooner appointment to fix the problem, or suffer through the two weeks? Since the tooth has such a consistent track record, I just wait ‘til my appointment. My experience with the tooth helps me make the decision.

And today as we begin Matthew 21, we see Jesus continuing on his final journey to Jerusalem. His goal? Salvation for mankind, peace, joy, and a reunion in heaven. But we know, as does He, that He has an appointment with an excruciating death before reaching His goal. And there is volatility on Earth that we of creation must endure too! Trials and tribulations of every sort must take place to bring prideful mankind low enough to cry out to God for mercy, grace, and salvation.

My tooth ache was on Friday this past week. I know what’s coming. But it’s pretty insignificant compared to what Jesus was looking to go through during this passage of the text. Yet He still went through it. For the joy that awaited Him beyond the pain, He went through it for our sakes.
 “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac shall thy seed be called.’”Hebrews 11:17 

Today's Audio Message:

Matthew 21:1-22 - "The Promises Beyond"

Think about a time of turmoil in your life and you will likely recall how the foundations of your world were shaken. Turmoil challenges our beliefs and faith, confronts the way we have always done things, makes us question where we are going.

In the midst of turmoil, we just want life to go back to the way it was before. Some will pray God to fix the problem and end the turmoil. Others will comes to church seeking answers to or an escape from the turmoil of our lives and world. Jesus saw the cross before Him and walked on towards it. He had a purpose here on earth, to fulfill the will of His Father.

As they make their way into Jerusalem, there would be no escape. Jesus knew what awaited Him by the end of the week, and He chose to put Himself center stage for that all to unfold. Jesus is coming, and a mass of people are following Him to Passover. They are experiencing everything He’s saying and doing as they go along. They sense He is like no other. Is this their awaited king? And of course, the disciples are along, and the disciples are affirming that He is the Christ, He is the Messiah, He is the Son of God.

It is just six days before His crucifixion, six days until the Lamb of God becomes the Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, six days before He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; six days before the nails, the thorns, the spit, the cursings, the spear, the hatred, the sin-bearing, the loneliness of being God forsaken; six days before He feels the full fury of divine wrath for the sins of His people.

Jesus was entering into Jerusalem as the conquering King. He had come to them. He brought salvation. Jesus’ purpose in riding into Jerusalem was to make public His claim to be their Messiah and King of Israel in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Zechariah 9:9).

The people are hailing Jesus as their conquering King. Hosanna in the Highest! Passover was a commemoration of that great deliverance. When Moses was their leader, and how God delivered them from Egypt. They all expected that when the Messiah came, He would also deliver them from bondage to any blasphemous, godless Gentile power. So the assumption is, if this is the Messiah, He’s going to come and He’s going to exercise power and authority, and drive the Romans out, give them back their freedom.

The whole crowd is praising God with a loud voice. The leaders, they were incensed. Their Conquering King would go to battle, but not against the Romans. Jesus went right to the temple. He attacked their religious system, and their religious leaders. He dismantles their operations, throws the money changers out and declares they had turned the house of God into a den of thieves.

This will set things in motion to get rid of Him. We know that through a middle-of-the-night phony trial with false witnesses, every bit of it illegal, they pronounce a death sentence on Him, and they execute Him in the morning, on Friday, exactly at the hour that God had planned, so that He would die as the Passover Lamb for the sins of His people.

The king they wanted was not the KING that has come. He didn’t come to satisfy their flesh. He didn’t come to cater to their religious ceremony and pomp. He came to save us from our sin. To set the captives free. To conquer sin and rescue us from death and hell. To give us a future and a hope.

He is the Lamb that was slain. He IS THE RISEN & CONQUERING KING! 


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