This week brings the second "snapshot" of Jesus from Pastor Jim Cymbala’s "A Full Portrait of Christ" message. Last week, we were shown the picture of Jesus on Palm Sunday, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, receiving praise (Luke 19:37-40). Pastor Cymbala continues from that passage…
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The portrait of Jesus sitting quietly on a donkey, receiving worship and praise, is not the only picture of him, however. See the very next passage in Scripture:
"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.’" (Luke 19:41-44)
Just as Christ predicted, in 70 A.D., about 40 years after he died on the cross, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army, and they tore down the Temple stone by stone. Some estimates are that a million Jews perished as they held out and fought stubbornly against the forces under General Titus, who later became Emperor.
Now Jesus is no longer on a donkey, just receiving praise. Now Jesus is weeping. Do you have that Jesus in your photo album? Do you know that he still weeps over people and families and churches? He is grieved when he sees people whose lives he wants to bless, reject his love and peace. They won’t listen, just like the people of Jerusalem wouldn’t listen though Jesus himself walked down their streets. If some of you would just open your spiritual ears to his voice, you would hear his sobs over you today because there’s trouble ahead. Your rejection of Christ’s love and persistence in sin will bring God’s judgment just as surely as it came on Jerusalem.
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Those last words are strong ones, indeed, and at first they sound a bit out of place in an e-newsletter titled Peace in the Storm. Normally I highlight passages of Scripture that have strengthened or revived my faith at one time or another, with the hope they will do the same for you. Every now and then, it’s also important to highlight the passages of Scripture that tell us how we are sure not to have peace — so we can check ourselves and make sure we are on the right track. See, Jesus is the only pathway to true peace. We may think some other things will bring us peace, and they may suffice for a moment, but Jesus weeps when we are missing the fullness of life, love, joy and peace that He has for us. Let us always be receptive to His calling.
To obtain an audio tape of the full message that is excerpted in this issue or to get an archival listing of Pastor Cymbala’s sermon tapes, please call The Brooklyn Tabernacle at 718-290-2238. (This is not an advertisement.)