Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Reflection for the 4th Week of Lent, Part 2

Thursday – “Your People”

The Israelites had messed up, big time. They had made a golden calf and worshiped it. In their hearts, they were still in Egypt even though God had miraculously led them out and freed them from slavery. Now they wanted to go back.

Moses was up on the mountain with God when the Israelites fell back into idolatry, so he didn't know what was going on. But God did, and He told Moses, “Go down at once to your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved.”

Notice how God said “your people.” The Israelites abandoned God. They turned their backs on the Almighty One Who saved them to worship a stupid, grass-eating animal. So God was perfectly within His right to disown them. They didn't want to be His people any longer. 

God didn't stop there. He also threatened to destroy the Israelites, and they deserved it.

But, of course, God didn't disown or destroy Israel. He never really intended to do either, but He wanted to urge Moses to intercede for his fellow Israelites. And Moses did.

Perhaps Moses didn't want to take responsibility for the people (who would?), or perhaps he was really starting to love them and care for them as God did. In any case, Moses prayed, and God answered, and the sinful people were spared.

Friday – His Hour Had Not Yet Come

It wasn't time yet. His hour had not yet come. Jesus had more to do before He went to the cross. So the Jewish authorities could not touch Him, not yet. He could stand in the Temple area and teach. He could make inflammatory statements like “You know Me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on My own, but the One who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.”

But the Jews couldn't arrest Him. People needed to hear His message first. They needed to be aroused from their spiritual slumber. They needed to know the truth.

One day in the not too far future, Jesus would go to the cross for the salvation of the world. But as yet, His hour had not yet come.

Saturday – Each to His Own

Debates, even arguments, were breaking out all over Jerusalem. Some thought Jesus was a prophet. Others thought He must be the Messiah. Still others believed that couldn't be true because the Scriptures said nothing about the Messiah coming from Galilee.

The guards couldn't arrest Jesus, for His hour had not yet come, but even they were intrigued by Him. “Never before has anyone spoken like this Man,” they said.

Most of the Pharisees were dead set against Jesus, but Nicodemus wondered. He wanted to hear more. It was only fair to listen first and then decide. The others scoffed at him.

“Then each went to his own house.” Each went his own way. Their physical separation mirrored the separations of opinion they had just been experiencing. They could not agree. They could not stay together. They could not find the truth, so they stopped trying. They stopped discussing. They closed up and left. They walked away, each to his own. And in doing so, they turned their backs on each other, on the people, and on Jesus.

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