April 19, 2024
March 24, 2024
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Dear friends, we recently remembered Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. I had the opportunity to share this topic in Spartanburg, South Carolina at Golgotha Church.

What does this significant day teach us? Let us pay attention to previous events. In the first place, John names the reason for such excitement: ”Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The crowd went and met Him for this reason: They heard that He had performed this sign.“ (John 12:17-18). However, these same people will later shout: “Crucify Him!” How come? For what reason? They followed Him because of the miracle He performed. Did Christ really need this superficial worship? No. But He allowed this to be a testimony to all nations, that every tongue and tribe will bow before Him in humility on the Day of His Coming and Judgment when there will not be a single one left who will not recognize their Lord. Despite this, for most, it will turn out to be eternal damnation and torment in the flames of hellfire. Dear friend, what is your reason for following Christ? To see a miracle or have enough “bread” (material things)? What motivates your heart to follow Him?

It is also important for us to mention what kind of Messiah they were expecting, exclaiming: “Hosanna!” Back then, in the minds of God’s nation, He would appear as a military-political leader who would overthrow the rule of the Roman Empire. But when He came, He did not even intend to criticize the Roman Empire and its rulers as many Christians do the political leaders today. Moreover, for many Israelites, and especially the Zealots, the statement: “…render … to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (in other words, what belongs to the emperor), and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) sounded treacherous. So why did this same crowd then shout, “Crucify Him!”? Because He did not live up to their expectations. This is not how they imagined Him to be. They were disappointed in Him. He did not come to conquer Rome, but their hearts.

What is your Christ like today? The same Christ of the Bible or the one with whom you would be comfortable? Do you accept all of His teachings and revelation about Himself, or only the “cherries from the cake” that sound pleasing to the itching ears? Do you humble yourself before the real Christ or do you serve someone else whom you have invented for yourself? Dear friend, I’m not making anything up. After all, the same problem existed during the time of the Early Church. That’s why Paul said: ”But I fear that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds might be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you put up with it easily enough.“ (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). In other words: “I preach to you the true Gospel and you treat me quite strictly, or even don’t accept me, and when they come to you with false teachings and delusions, you easily submit to them.” So what is your Christ like?

That is why Christ, approaching Jerusalem, wept and spoke about it, saying, ”They will dash you, and your children within you, to the ground. They will not leave one stone upon another within you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:44). Can you imagine, the long-awaited Messiah Himself visited them, but they did not recognize the time of their visitation. Perhaps Christ visited you and me, and this is not how we pictured Him. We have our own understanding of Him, to which we hold with a religious death grip. And this is not surprising, because the Old Testament prophets were also rejected by the people of God while false prophets and unjust priests were then honored and held in high esteem, as in the time of the prophet Jeremiah. In the Temple of God, along with the worship of Jehovah, idols were installed and worshiped. The world was mixed with the worship of the Lord. No one believed the true prophet Jeremiah when he called on God’s people to repent. This is not what they wanted to hear. They were blinded by excessive patriotic feelings and were confident that God would protect them from the then-young Babylonian Empire. As a result, trouble came, and they never recognized the time of the Lord’s visitation. Oh, how similar it is to today when false prophets with flattering and “positive” messages are held in high esteem by many!

What do we do now? We can talk about others and think globally. But what happens personally in my and your heart? When Christ entered Jerusalem amidst all the exclamation, the Gospel of John says, ”His disciples did not understand these things at first. But when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.“ (John 12:16). After all, from childhood, the disciples at the synagogue knew the Scriptures, but at first they did not understand that they testified and spoke about their Teacher. You too, dear brother and sister, enter the secret closet with His Word in your hands and ask Him to reveal Himself to you exactly as He is, for He is Who He is.

John further says, ”Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”“ (John 12:20-21). When we recognize the voice of our Good Shepherd through the Word, we will certainly become like Him, humbling and putting the fleshly things to death, and depraved feelings and desires. The whole world today, like those Greeks, turning to us, the Church, says: “We want to see Jesus!” They must see Him in us.

Then Jesus says: ”Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it. And he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.“ (John 12:24-26). We must die to ourselves, otherwise we will not bear fruit. What kind of fruit is this? This is evidence of a changed life. It was this testimony that Jesus spoke of when He ascended into heaven. Not a testimony in words only, but the testimony of your life. Thus you become a genuine witness of Christ. He says: “Where I am, there will My servant be also.” Dear friend, where are you? Where Christ is or where you want Him to be?

Let us seek the face of the Lord and be able to recognize the time of His visitation. And may the Bible – His Word and the revelation of the Holy Spirit, become for us that Guiding Star that will continue to reveal to us through the Spirit of Truth the real Christ, Whom we follow.

God bless you!