Trinity X Sunday

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Trinity X

Luke 19:41–48

Todays’ Gospel reminds us of Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem. The whole city was trembling with excitement. People were asking, “Who is this?” We remember the shouts of the people, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!” We also remember the palm branches. We fully understand that national feelings were always high during Jewish feast days. It was in this context of excitement and colorful event that Jesus entered Jerusalem. But instead of being happy and join the atmosphere of the moment, Jesus wept over the city. Why?

Why did Jesus weep?

Jesus wept because his ministry was almost over and still he was rejected, abandoned, and felt alone. The Bible said he came unto his own and his own received him not (John 1: 11). Not only that, but being God and willing to sacrifice everything for his beloved, he knew that one of his own disciples, Judas, will betray him, he knew that another one will deny him, Simon Peter. He knew that Caiaphas the high priest will conspire with Pilate, the Roman governor to bring about his death. He knew that all these wicked people, these hypocrite people saying “Hosanna” will soon be saying “crucify him”. But most of all, he knew that their future, the future of Jerusalem was not pretty. Looking ahead he saw the destruction that would come upon Jerusalem in 70 years.  Because we know now, looking back historically in 70 AD, the Roman legion came in led by Titus and after a siege of 143 days killed 600000 Jews and the Temple in Jerusalem was completely destroyed. This is to achieve the prediction of Jesus. He wept because it broke his heart.  Unbelief and rejections break God’s heart. Why? Because he knows the consequences.

But before all this happened, Jesus cleansed the temple for two reasons:

  • Jesus was surprised at what people had made of God’s house of prayer. He wanted to purify it from the abuse of ungodly men. Judea was under the Roman Empire and the money in current use was Roman coin. However, the Jewish law required that every man should pay a tribute to the service of the sanctuary of “half a shekel”, a Jewish coin (Exodus 30: 11-16). It was therefore important to find a place to exchange the Roman coin for the Jewish half shekel. The money-changers provided a place in the temple area, but would demand a small sum for the exchange. Because many people came up to the great feasts, changing money was a very profitable business.
  • This business resulted in all kinds of fraud and oppression of the poor. While this business was going on in the sanctuary, the poor were not able to come close to the house of God to worship because they were financially limited.

 Message for us

The point that we can make of all this is that we are the church, we are the house of God. When church members are no longer confident of God’s will or blessings, they turn to programs and techniques that they think will solve their problems. All churches, including our own, have fallen into the same mistake.  Sometimes they lose confidence in God and his word. They are shrinking in membership and struggling to raise funds to meet their needs. They never seem to recognize what the problem is. They stop believing, they stop trusting God to make it all work as it should. They start planning for themselves, they start using human wisdom to conduct church business and it never occurs to them that the real problem is nothing else but faithlessness. They lost sight of God’s visitation. Think back to when this congregation was new. Remember the joy of gathering together. All of you were at church every week. Bible classes were full. It was joy and you loved it. Is it still a joy? Has it taken on the form of a burden? Listen, because you are in church does not mean that you recognize the time of your visitation that Jesus is talking about in our text today. Your visitation is when you hear the Gospel. It’s when you let the word of God operate that supernatural transformation in you. Then you would honor God in the beauty of his temple. You would make his house, which is this church, but also your life, a house of prayer and worship, not a Robbers’ den or a house of earthly battles. We all enjoy the good things that this world offers. Some people pursue wealth, power, and popularity. Others are after good times and the like. It is true that these are blessings from God. But we are not to focus on the blessings, but on the source of all blessings, the Almighty and powerful God that has everything in his hand.

Let us respect his presence in our church, in our families, in our homes, and in life. Let that presence lead us to true worship and thanksgiving to the glory of God. Amen.