Meditation. Contemplating God. Practicing the Presence of God. As Christians we are bombarded with these concepts and disciplines, but in a busy, noisy world how hard is it to do this? I did an experiment this morning. Before the sun ever came up, I sat in my chair and practiced listening to God. I can’t tell you how often I just jump in and begin talking to Him. This morning was different. I wanted to be still and know He is God. A few seconds passed by, notice I said seconds, and bam my thoughts were wondering. I wanted to talk, to tell Him all my needs. It seems I just can’t help myself. I decided to shut myself down. I set my timer for one short minute on my phone and focused my thoughts on God. I fixed the lens of my mind on the events of that Monday of Passion Week. What would He reveal to me? What did Jesus experience as He left Bethany to travel back into Jerusalem? For one minute I emptied myself of my chaos and I drove my thoughts into the chaos of His day. The minute passed too quickly that time.
Jesus spent the night at Bethany, a favorite place of rest and refuge especially during that last week. I awoke with this thought on my mind. I could smell the fig trees and the smell of the olive grove at the top of the mountain He would have passed through. Bethany lay just a few short miles east of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. Every day that week Jesus would lay His head in Bethany and upon the morning would rise and head into the mayhem of Jerusalem. It was Passover week and Jerusalem was filled with worshippers. As we saw yesterday, the Temple courts were filled with theives and robbers who would make an extra buck off those who sought after God. Jesus defended their cause and cleansed His Father’s House and now, on that Monday He was back for more.
My Monday doesn’t look so hectic compared to His.
He incited fury in His enemies because of that event. The wheels of the plot to kill Him began to twirl in earnestness on Monday.
“The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill Him, for they feared Him, because the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on His words.” Mark 11:18 and Luke 19:47-48
His action stirred up hatred and animosity. Yet He held nothing back. His life was His to live and He chose to live in full obedience to His Father. He didn’t shy away from confrontation. On that Monday He headed right back into the viper’s nest.
“The blind and the lame came to Him at the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” They asked Him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children’s and infants you have ordained praise?” Matthew 21:14-16 NIV.
Hosanna – Save us Son of David. It was a glory hallelujah. It was children’s uninhibited cheering, shouts of praise from the lips of the young and innocent. Their crescendo rose and it makes my heart beat to it’s rythym. From their lips to His ears went the cry. And yet there were those who wanted to silence the adoration. They were jealous and jealousy is a green eyed monster, but Jesus shut down their discontent. Sing children sing for now, for the day is on the horizon when you will weep and mourn.
On Sunday He wept for the city of Jerusalem, and now that heaviness carried into Monday.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to Him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgement on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all me to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death He was going to die.” John 12:27-33
The beloved Voice He knew so well. He heard it when He rose from the baptismal waters three years ago. And now it echos again for others to hear. It’s a Voice that holds men’s hearts. God’s Voice, it’s heard loudest at the times we most need it.
It’s Monday. Jesus knew the when, the where, the how and the why of His death. It was imminent, within in the week even. He wept for Jerusalem on Sunday, His heart was troubled on Monday. It’s why we call it Passion Week. It’s a week of strong and varying emotions for Jesus filled with excruciating suffering and profound joy.
Oh to be filled with the depth of His caring and mercy for a lost and broken world.
My moment of meditation led me to that thought. I should be filled with such compassion for those who are lost and don’t understand the events of this week. To praise Jesus as innocently and as loudly as children should be my focal point this week.
What are your meditations for this day 2000 years ago?
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“When evening came, they went out of the city.” Mark 11:19