Today marks the beginning of Holy Week (aka Passion Week). It also marks the eighth day of prayer and fasting for us as a church, leading up to Easter.
We know this as Palm Sunday when Jesus, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, made His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. This was the subject of my Sunday message today.
The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11)
This marked His claim and the people’s belief that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the Son of David. But there is also a lesser known event on this day.
“And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.” (Mark 11:11)
What was Jesus looking for? What did He expect to find? Jesus looked around, but the hour was late.
The temple in Jerusalem no longer exists. The Bible tells us that we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Jesus still watches His temple, but now He is watching us. Seven times in the book of Revelation He says, ,”I know your works.”
Why is Jesus watching us? Some people think it is so that He can point out our flaws, judge or condemn us. People may do this, but Jesus doesn’t.
“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:33–34)
Then why is He looking at us?
“The LORD is in His holy temple, The LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:4–5)
He tests us and watches us so that He can approve us. It was the same with Job. The LORD tested Job with many trials so that He could ultimately commend and bless him. The LORD tested Abraham when He told him to offer Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham obeyed and went and bound Isaac to the altar. When he lifted his hand to slay his son, the LORD said:
“Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:12)
Through the trial, God was watching Abraham to see what he would do. How much did he love the LORD and trust Him?
Likewise, the Lord is watching us today. With the Coronavirus, He has permitted a great trial in our lives. Has He abandoned us? No. Has He stopped loving us? No way. But the one who looked around at all things in the temple is searching our hearts–not to judge and condemn but to save and approve.
As we begin this Holy Week, let us ask God to help us be faithful and overcome these trials so that we will also be approved.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12, NASB95)
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