2017: Page 99

Page 99 has been a great day filled with much variety.  Once I was up and going for the day, we headed to church where the Sunday School class I attend finished our study of 1 Thessalonians.  Our discussion today focused on living in a way that represents Christ well and being ready for His return.  

After the Sunday School class we had a great worship gathering as David continued a series from the book of Luke with a sermon based on the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on what we’ve come to know as Palm Sunday.  As we considered the events of that day so many years ago, and the days leading up to it, we looked at three types of people in the crowds that lined the roadway into the city.  If you’ve ever wondered what it would have been like to be there and what you would have done, a quick look at what your actions today say you believe could give great insight into which of those three types of people you would have been because it’s likely the type you are today.  The good news is that Jesus loved, and loves, each person in the crowd including you.  His desire is that each of us would come to know Him as our Savior.

The crowds on that day,  and the crowds today including you and me, are filled with the following:

  • The Critic:  Some in the crowds were critical of Jesus, and had been throughout His entire ministry.  Many of these in His day were the religious leaders who thought they were the experts in knowing God.  The teaching of Jesus was done with an authority that the religious leaders lacked.  Jesus did everything in ways that honored and fulfilled scripture while often directly contradicting the teachings of the ruling Jewish leaders.  They did not believe that Jesus was God’s Son sent as the Messiah who would save His people from their sins.  They wanted to silence the crowds who were hailing Jesus as Messiah.  Today’s crowds also include critics.  There are many who do not believe that Jesus is God’s Son sent to save them from their sins.  When we seek a relationship with God on our own terms, we will often be critical of God’s Word and the teachings of Jesus when they are found to be in conflict with what we believe  While many of the harshest words of Jesus were directed at the critic, He never excludes them from coming to Him to find salvation and truth.
  • The Curious:  Most events that draw a crowd probably have the majority of those in attendance there simply as those who are curious.  Throughout the ministry of Jesus, word of everything He did spread throughout all of Israel.  As stories circulated of people being healed, large crowds fed with a few loaves, lepers being cleansed, blind seeing, deaf hearing, and even dead raised to life, it was enough to make the curious come out in droves to see for themselves what was happening.  A problem with being a part of the curious crowd is that our curiosity is often satisfied simply by seeing the miraculous happen in the lives of others without ever experiencing the life-changing transformation that God wants to see take place in our life.  The curious are often swayed by the best show.  Curiosity can lead to yelling “Hosanna!” with the crowds on Sunday and by mid-week be yelling “Crucify Him!” with the crowds which follow a different leader.  The good news for the curious is that Jesus promised if we seek Him with our whole heart, He will be found.
  • The Committed:  Finally in the crowd, were those who were committed to Jesus.  You had those who had been with Jesus from the early days of His ministry.  You had others who had stayed with Him even as the crowds fell away when the teaching became difficult to handle.  On that day, many of the committed had not yet learned fully what the cost of commitment would be, but they soon would.  Commitment is rarely known until it is put to the test, but it always begins with a deliberate desire to be committed.  There were those who followed Jesus that were critics and many who followed Him that were curious, but there was a sizable group that had a desire to be committed to Him and the things He was teaching.  It was that desire that carried them through even after deserting Him for a moment as the trial and crucifixion took place.  Commitment doesn’t mean that we never fail, it means that we keep hanging on and trusting that as we hold on He will never let us go.

After the worship gathering, I headed to lunch with my family before an afternoon trip to Sam’s Club to pick up some supplies for my mom.  Once the supplies were in hand, it was time for a trip to the farm to spend some time with my parents.  It was good to see them doing well as they were both out working, mom in the greenhouse and dad in the field, when we arrived.  After our visit, I headed to downtown Mishawaka to spend some time walking with my family along the St Joseph River.  There were many beautiful sights to enjoy and photograph, but the one that made today’s page is of a mother goose and her goslings.  I was surprised to see several sets of young goslings out with their parents as I thought it was a little early for them to be hatched out.  At this stage in the life of the young goslings, they are never far from the watchful eye of the mother goose.  It made me think of the words of Jesus as He wept over Jerusalem, longing to gather the people of the city to Himself as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.  

As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:

  • Being ready for the return of Jesus changes the way a person looks at life.
  • There is such a thing as “doing right” and God wants His children to do it.
  • Clinging to what is good is just as important as rejecting what is evil.
  • We are all part of the crowd in this life we live.  What part we are is our choice.
  • Pride and self-reliance will often led us to being critics when it comes to both the person and teaching of Jesus.  The cure is surrender.
  • Curiosity often fills us with a lot of information but rarely results in necessary change.  The cure is surrender.
  • Commitment begins with a desire to be committed and leads us to hang on to Jesus even when we know we fail.  Yes, committed people do fail but the cure for that failure is surrender.
  • We need to live under the protective care of our Savior.  Doing so is our choice.

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