The Sabbath Word 1: Passion Sunday

The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.—Luke 13:31–35  

Passion

The fifth Sunday in Lent is Passion Sunday. Here Passion means the suffering Jesus experienced on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday during Passion Week (the week prior to Easter). In our text, the Pharisees warned Jesus that Herod wanted to kill Him. Jesus replied, “Be­hold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” Jesus refers to His coming resurrection from the grave on Easter, a victory over sin and death. Jesus knew that He must continue the work that His Father had sent Him to do until it was time for Him to be crucified (John 9:4). His work was to preach the gospel of God’s kingdom and to call sinners to repentance (Matt. 4:17; Mark 2:17). Jesus also performed miracles “that you may be­­lieve that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

Jesus continues: “Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.” Only at the appointed time would Jesus suffer and die. He was willing and prepared to give His life so that all people could have life by believing on Him (John 3:16).

Christ’s Love Calls, Gathers

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” When we read these words we can feel the love that Jesus had for the people of Jerusalem, the spiritual center of His Jewish nation, even though they had rejected Him. This is the same love that Christ extends to people of all nations.

We may wonder: how could someone reject this loving call? However, Scriptures say: “But though He [Jesus] had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them” (John 12:37–40). Christ’s love calls all sinners to come to Him and gathers His own to a place of rest. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

Holy Spirit Calls, Gathers

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would continue His work when He returned to the Father in heaven. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). Thus, the Holy Spirit continues the work of calling sinners. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). This call is not an earthly or fleshly call. It is a spiritual call. A call to drink of the living waters that flow in God’s kingdom. These waters are the gospel of the forgiveness of sins and give life to those who believe.

Just as Christ yearned to gather the children of Jerusalem “as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings,” the Holy Spirit yearns to gather God’s children together to­­day. We only need to submit to this love and allow ourselves to be in the tender care of the Holy Spirit in God’s kingdom. In this care we are secure and protected, which contrasts Jesus’ prophesy for Jerusalem. “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The multitudes would praise Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Matt. 21:9), but would shout “Crucify him, crucify him” (Luke 23:21) on Good Friday.

Later, the visitation of the Gentiles would begin (Act 13:46) and the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans. Nevertheless, in God’s kingdom even the servants have plenty to eat (Luke 15:17) and through eyes of faith, revealed by the Holy Spirit, we see our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

O blind and foolish nations, will you the Savior shun?
The kingdom He established is not an earthly one.
No pow’r can overthrow it, nor earthly wisdom know it.
Hosanna to the King, O daughter of Zion, sing!

The city Jesus entered, its temple is no more;
its festive songs are silenced, its sacrifices o’er.
But Zion, silent never, proclaims Him priest forever.
Hosanna to the King, O daughter of Zion, sing!
(SHZ 5:4,5)

Carey Simonson

April 2017 Voice of Zion

 

 

 
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