Archives For Jesus

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it (Luke 19.41)

It is early in the Passion Week and our Lord is coming upon the great city Jerusalem.  He has been hailed the King by worshipers (19.37-38) but he has also been questioned and interrogated by the Pharisees (19.39).  But now he is upon the crest of the city and he is moved to tears.

Why?  Well ultimately the tears are bound up in the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem which Jesus connects to their rejection of him as the promised Messiah (vv. 42-44).

But our tendency is to quickly turn from the Savior to the people and begin to think about AD 70 and the destruction as well as the ongoing demonstration of judgment for rejecting Christ.  However we mustn’t too quickly turn away from the heavy truth in verse 41: Jesus wept over the city.

The mere fact that Jesus wept here shows the deeply emotional state of the Savior as he moves toward Jerusalem.  He is not an indifferent Calvinist who’s theology is so suffocated that he cannot breath, see, and be moved.  He is weeping over lost people, judgment, and disaster.  We must not lift our heads up too quickly from the page lest we miss the Master’s heart.  Think and ask yourself about how often (if ever) you have wept over your city.

Furthermore, he is weeping as he approaches his crucifixion.  Jesus is not going to a reception here but an execution.  We know that while the cries may have been “Hosanna!” (John 12.13) on the front end they will be “Crucify Him!” in a matter of days (Mark 15.14).  They call him “King” now but in due time these same fickle crowds will declare passionately that “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19.15).  But nevertheless Jesus weeps.  It would seem that the fickleness and feigned worship seem to even further pierce the Savior’s heart.  He indeed knows what is in man (John 2.24-25).  He is weeping over the sinful hearts of his executioners.  He is weeping because of who they are and what they are doing.  He is weeping because of what they are missing.  Let the Savior’s tears communicate the hidden mysteries of his perfect heart as it beats blood of holy compassion in his bosom.

Jesus’ patience, love, and emotion are so convicting and instructive to me.  He had every right to yell at all of them for their rejection of him.  However he pauses over the city and in plain view, he weeps.  How unlike Christ am I that I do not even come close to this compassion, grief, emotion, or heartache?  Furthermore he is not afraid to show his emotion in the plain eyes of the public.  He does not fear men and their reactions of him.  He just loves them and grieves over their rejection of him.  O’ What a Savior!

This morning I woke up with drums of Calvary beating in my mind. Specifically I was drawn to relentless petitions for Barabbas’ freedom in favor of Jesus’ execution. I had to just sit and try to dwell upon the scene, what follows is what came out. I was convicted and encouraged, which seems to be the pattern in the meditation upon Christ’s cross; so therefore I share this likewise for your encouragement and conviction where need be.

The scene is violent, it is cold,

the source of countless stories told

Heaven’s joy stands beaten and disgraced

One from whom men hide their face

The judge emerges, off’ring his release

The raging mob strikes back with anger now increased

…..

“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” is the uniform cry

Release to us a murderer, Just let this one die

There is a voice in the crowd that is disturbingly distinct

I hear it clear as day in my mind—I’m sure that it is me

…..

I rage and yell, for this offering,

Kill this ‘righteous’ one, get him away from me

Give me a murderer, Barabbas, yes, he will do,

He is more like me than this—“King of the Jews”

…..

He has preached of his kingdom and spoke of my sin

He has dared to look at me and order me to follow him

I’ve had enough of this guy and his claim to be the king

Give me Barabbas! Give me Barabbas! Is the song I sing

…..

Now my voice is nearly hoarse from crying for his death

I stare at his bloody brow and watch him fight for breath

He too is hoarse—but the cause is not like mine

He was bearing the hell-drenched curse for sinners such as I

…..

I see him with heavenly resolve cry out one last time

With a voice so certain and so strong I’m sure it was divine

His shout echoes still, in my ears, with the freshness of that day

“It is finished!” says this Jesus, with blood still dripping from his face

…..

I look at him much different now—for I see him as he is

The righteous Lamb of God pierced through for sinners’ sins

I look upon this bloody cross, horrified by what I see

The demands of my sin by the Law made him a curse for me

…..

He hangs dead before me, heaven’s wrath now spent

I put my hand over my mouth, for my heart is now rent

O’ the love of God to order such as course

By this cross I’m forever changed, but my voice remains still hoarse.

…..

In the last post I mentioned that Christ was not pursuing us as that which was ultimately valuable when he died upon the cross. However, there was something that he did pursue; there was something that he chiefly valued. It is this that he pursued, longed to exalt in and clearly demonstrate.

I am referring to the glory of God. This is what Jesus valued. This is what he came to vindicate (Rom. 3.21-26). God is fanatically intolerant with the disregard of his own glory. He vows with all of heaven as a testimony that he will not give his glory to another (Is. 42.8). Therefore to have us as humanity shaking our puny fists in God’s face like a bunch of little ants is to have God’s most prized possession attacked. This cannot go unpunished. Furthermore, the glory of God cannot go unvindicated; God must get his glory.

This is what we see from Jesus throughout his ministry. He comes and does nothing but love God perfectly (Jn. 8.29) giving him glory (Jn. 17.4) and doing all that he required. His mission was to exalt the glory of God. This is seen in everything from his preaching, to his healings, to the cross and the empty grave. Everything that Jesus does is aimed at the glory of God.

This tells us a bit more about Christ’s inherent excellence; for what does he set his life to exalt but that which is the highest good. Nothing rivals the glory of God, for it is the ultimate good. Therefore the successful pursuit and exaltation of that which is best distinguishes Jesus as the supreme good.

We understand that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5.8). That is while we were not pursuing the glory of God but rather attacking and undermining it (sin) Jesus Christ died to rescue sinners like us and in so doing vindicate divine glory. Jesus is to be esteemed because he valued that which is of the highest value.

From the first mention of redemption of the bible (Gen. 3.15ff) to the full and perfect accomplishment of it, there is a great sense of certainty, hope and relief for those with a heavenly wrought contrition. This one who would come would be able to do the job, he would be able to save his people from their sins (Matt. 1.21). So with this divinely approved resume of the Messiah we have great hope.

Well why is Jesus approved? Why is he uniquely able to save?

Jesus alone is possesses the requisite perfection. We know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3.23). This verse teaches us that the ‘all’ here are all people from all times. Therefore one of our peers could not help us because they likewise are confined to the ranks of the unrighteous (Rom. 3.10-12).

So we need one who is different and not like us. We need one who is not polluted by the effects of human sinfulness. We need one who is not deserving of the wrath of God. However, at the same time we also need one who is like us, that is, one who carries our humanity. This substitute, this redeemer, this Savior must maintain an eternally perfect righteousness (he must be divine), but at the same time he must be able to identify with, live and die for sinners. So he must also be human.

Well who is qualified to undertake this task? All of humanity has been created therefore we are not eternal and we do not possess the eternal righteousness that is required to satisfy God’s standard. Likewise the angels could not serve as a suitable substitute; for angels themselves were created and they are merely the reflection of divine holiness where as Christ is himself is holy. He is not merely a reflection of divine holiness he is the source of holiness (Heb. 7.26).

I often find myself considering the exclusivity of the gospel through the Savior Jesus through the lenses of God’s own character. If the bible is true and God is radically intolerant of anything less than ceaseless perfection with respect to God-centered worship through love and obedience then there is no hope for forgiveness outside of this gloriously and wonderfully qualified one named Jesus of Nazareth.

So why should Jesus be valued? He is exclusively qualified to save sinners. He is preeminent. He is supreme. He is without rival and worthy of unmitigated worship.

1 Peter 1:8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

Peter’s readers had not seen the Lord Jesus with their natural eyes, however, they saw him with the eyes of faith…for the text says, “you love him”. The world around them was wondering how they would renounce all things visible for that which is unseen. However, they believe, they see, they love.

How good and encouraging is it for you Christian to know that you have a lineage of spiritual ancestors who like you have not seen the Lord Jesus with the literal eyes but you have seen him through the eyes of faith, a vision produced and inflamed by the Holy Spirit through the pages of Scriptures and demonstrated in great power in your own life.

This is one of the chief distinguishing marks of genuine Christianity. One may be able to fake their conversion by masking it with service, attendance, generous giving, or morality; but no hypocrite can muster up sustained love for the one who will one day unmask the hypocrisy…no, genuine love for Jesus is Christianity.

Here are some ways in which we have seen him and so therefore, we love him:

-we have seen him humble himself to adorn himself with flesh

-we have seen him submit to his earthly parents, whom he created

-we have seen him call rugged fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, murdererers, and demon possessed men to follow him

-we have seen him touch lepers and heal them

-we have seen him feed thousands

-we have seen him walk upon the water

-we have seen him stare the devil and all of his temptations in the eye without giving in

-we have seen him calm the storm upon Galilee

-we have seen him pray…sometimes all night long

-we have seen him sing with his disciples

-we have seen him endure mockings, ridicule, and persecution…when he deserved none of it

-we have seen him march with such heavenly resolve to Jerusalem, knowing he would die

-we have seen him sweat drops of blood as he contemplated bearing our sin

-we have seen him beaten by religious leaders…but without reviling in return, only entrusting himself to a faithful creator

-we have seen him with a shredded back, carry his cross to the point of collapse

-we have seen him pray upon the cross while he was drinking the unmitigated, undiluted cup of divine wrath for us

-we have seen him hoisted up, suspended above the earth, as the exclusive Savior of the world

-we have seen him entreat sinners unto himself while upon the cross

-we have seen him declare it is finished, as he drank damnation dry

-we have seen him die upon Calvary’s tree

-we have seen him raise from the grave victorious over sin, death, and Satan

-we have seen him ascend to the Father

-we have seen him extend his hand to us in the gospel

-we have seen him welcome us to his chest, that we might, like that beloved apostle, hear his heart beat

-we have seen him stand between us and the Father as our Mediator

-we have seen him continue to pray incessantly as our great High Priest

-we have seen him through enlightened eyes…and we love him…we love him….for he is lovely!!

[this excerpt is from a sermon I preached on 04.15.2007 at Omaha Bible Church, here is a link to a page for listening/download of the complete message]

The Liberality of Jesus

Erik Raymond —  June 30, 2007

by Charles Spurgeon

“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” :: John 17:22

Behold the superlative liberality of the Lord Jesus, for he hath given us his all. Although a tithe of his possessions would have made a universe of angels rich beyond all thought, yet was he not content until he had given us all that he had. It would have been surprising grace if he had allowed us to eat the crumbs of his bounty beneath the table of his mercy; but he will do nothing by halves, he makes us sit with him and share the feast.

Had he given us some small pension from his royal coffers, we should have had cause to love him eternally; but no, he will have his bride as rich as himself, and he will not have a glory or a grace in which she shall not share. He has not been content with less than making us joint-heirs with himself, so that we might have equal possessions. He has emptied all his estate into the coffers of the Church, and hath all things common with his redeemed. There is not one room in his house the key of which he will withhold from his people. He gives them full liberty to take all that he hath to be their own; he loves them to make free with his treasure, and appropriate as much as they can possibly carry.

The boundless fulness of his all-sufficiency is as free to the believer as the air he breathes. Christ hath put the flagon of his love and grace to the believer’s lip, and bidden him drink on for ever; for could he drain it, he is welcome to do so, and as he cannot exhaust it, he is bidden to drink abundantly, for it is all his own.

What truer proof of fellowship can heaven or earth afford?

“When I stand before the throne
Dressed in beauty not my own;
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart;
Then, Lord, shall I fully know-
Not till then-how much I owe.”

by Charles Spurgeon

“Thou art fairer than the children of men.”
- Psalm 45:2

The entire person of Jesus is but as one gem, and his life is all along
but one impression of the seal. He is altogether complete; not only in his
several parts, but as a gracious all-glorious whole. His character is not
a mass of fair colours mixed confusedly, nor a heap of precious stones
laid carelessly one upon another; he is a picture of beauty and a
breastplate of glory.

charles-spurgeon.jpg

In him, all the “things of good repute” are in their proper places, and
assist in adorning each other. Not one feature in his glorious person
attracts attention at the expense of others; but he is perfectly and altogether lovely.

Oh, Jesus! thy power, thy grace, thy justice, thy tenderness, thy truth,
thy majesty, and thine immutability make up such a man, or rather such a
God-man, as neither heaven nor earth hath seen elsewhere. Thy infancy, thy
eternity, thy sufferings, thy triumphs, thy death, and thine immortality,
are all woven in one gorgeous tapestry, without seam or rent. Thou art
music without discord; thou art many, and yet not divided; thou art all
things, and yet not diverse.

As all the colours blend into one resplendent rainbow, so all the glories
of heaven and earth meet in thee, and unite so wondrously, that there is
none like thee in all things; nay, if all the virtues of the most
excellent were bound in one bundle, they could not rival thee, thou mirror
of all perfection.

Thou hast been anointed with the holy oil of myrrh and cassia, which thy
God hath reserved for thee alone; and as for thy fragrance, it is as the
holy perfume, the like of which none other can ever mingle, even with the
art of the apothecary; each spice is fragrant, but the compound is divine.

“Oh, sacred symmetry! oh, rare connection
Of many perfects, to make one perfection!
Oh, heavenly music, where all parts do meet
In one sweet strain, to make one perfect sweet!”