Monday, March 25, 2013

"What Does the Lord Require"

          This past Sunday, churches around the world celebrated the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  People shouted his name, welcoming Him as their King.  But I imagine as Jesus received their adulation He silently whispered, “Yes, but do you love me?”  We are good at celebrating religious occasions and enjoying festivities like Easter, but do we really show Jesus that we love Him in these things?  Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15 ESV).”[i]  So, today I want to look at those things that Jesus commanded, asked for, or wanted in the Gospel of Luke, between the Trimphal Entry and Maundy Thursday.

Jesus Rides into Jerusalem on a Donkey
            First, Jesus wanted a donkey.  In Luke 19:31, Jesus told the disciples, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’”  Jesus wanted the donkey to fulfill prophecy (Matt 21:5; Zech 9:9) but He also wanted to test the disciples to see if they’d trust Him for the completion of a task that didn’t make any sense.  Without asking questions, Jesus wanted them to simply say “yes” to His commands, whether they encountered difficulty on the way or not.  Today, Jesus wants the same thing from His followers.   

            Then, Jesus wept over Jerusalem, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace (Luke 19:42)!”  How ironic, that the name Jerusalem has the word “peace” in it, and yet it is far from being a city of peace.  Jesus wanted Jerusalem to be filled with people of peace.  He wants the same from all believers today—but peace is hidden from our eyes.

            The next thing Jesus required was that believers “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's (Luke 20:215).”  God expects us to be good citizens of the earth, and also good citizens of heaven.  Romans 13:7 says, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”  This includes honor and respect due to our government, but it also includes worship and service due to God.

            In Luke 21, Jesus talked about trials and persecution.  Jesus tells believers, “Stand firm, and you will win life (21:19 NIV).”  Just as He wanted early believers to stand firm in times of difficulty, the Lord wants today’s Christians to stand the test.  In verse 36, Jesus says, “Stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  What does the Lord require?  Steadfastness of faith in the midst of struggle.

            Finally, in Luke 22, Jesus tells the disciples to find a man carrying a water pot and follow him to the house that he enters.  Then they should say to the master of the house, “The Teacher says to you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples (22:11)?’”   Again, Jesus asked the disciples to follow a divine command that made no sense to them.  Why would some random person respond favorably to such a request?  But Jesus was teaching them to trust Him.  And He was asking the master of the house (with whom he had probably prearranged the meeting space unbeknownst to the disciples) to make room for Jesus on this most important night.

            What does the Lord require?  That you trust Him.  That you obey Him.  That you become people of peace, practicing good citizenship on earth and in heaven.  The Lord requires that you stand firm and stay awake during troubling times.  He asks you to make room in your home and in your heart for Him.  In other words…

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8)

[i] Unless otherwise specified, all scripture is taken from the ESV.

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