Senin, 22 Februari 2016

A miserable trip of the Lord Jesus

Luke 13:31-35

Sermon by Rev. Cynthia Londah-Kekung S.Th.

Sunday Worship, February 21, 2016

In the second week of Lent, Jesus steadily approaches Jerusalem, and from that moment to the point when Jesus predicted that He were to die and rise from the dead on the third day, He had not shown any sign of anxiousness about what is going to happen.

In the reading today, Jesus also predicted that He will die in Jerusalem. Jesus believed that He had to go through that, despite knowing the difficulty of the task that is filled with misery and pain.

Perhaps Jesus knew the details about His upcoming misery that he expressed His grief about how heavy the road is going to be, and He prayed to the Father. “If You are willing, take this cup from Me… (Luke 22:42).

The reading today tells a story of a few Pharisees who reminded Jesus to leave the area, because Herod wanted to get rid of him. Jesus was not like by Herod, because Herod thought He created confusion, chaos, and discord between the Pharisees.

The interesting bit is that the people who warned Jesus were the Pharisees, a group who collectively did not support Jesus and His actions, but there were a few speculations that these Pharisees, who wished Jesus to leave, did not want anything to do with Jesus, but we can speculate that they agree with Jesus’ teachings and His services about repentance and the Kingdom of Heaven that is near.

Every struggle requires bravery. Jesus realized that His struggle is not something that is elementary, but it is a struggle via Dolorosa, a Way of Suffering. That is why the information and advice that was given by the Pharisees were given the answer that was consistent toward the Way of Suffering.

The threat of death did not phase Him. Jesus’ attitude was based on the fact of His knowledge that He would not have been prosecuted in Galilea, but in Jerusalem as it says on verse 35, that was why He was not afraid to go to Jerusalem anyway.

He also did not ask for a compromise to satisfy Herod’s needs, He remained adamant.

That was why Jesus answered the Pharisees by calling Herod a wolf. An animal often pictured as being sly and cowardly, hence why Jesus did not need to be wary of his threats. In fact, that information could be purposely be spread by Herod with the purpose of getting rid of Jesus from his own territory, and at the time, killing Jesus directly was not easy, as it would provoke chaos.

In His lifetime as a servant, Jesus had visited Jerusalem a couple of times. As a Jew, Jesus always admired Jerusalem and viewed the city as a symbol of the Holy city, and also because the Temple was there. He also knew that there were many prophets from the Old Testament who were killed in Jerusalem.

Nonetheless, Jesus did not avoid that God wanted Him to go to Jerusalem to finish His job, that is why Jesus approached that town with a very latent sadness.

Why should a horrible history be repeated? Why does the place that we love keep getting tainted with evil doings that resulted in the death of the prophets and in the end, Jesus Himself?

Jesus have always loved Israel, but Israelites did not accept him, that was what Jesus felt that made him experience sadness as He approached Jerusalem.

Jesus actually claimed many times that He wanted to gather all His children as the Hen gather her children under her wings (Verse 34).

The love of Jesus toward Jerusalem symbolized His love toward Israel. Jesus’ lament is for the Jewish people, although there were only few who would be saved in the end.

But the love that has been given by God toward Israel is not automatic, that would get rid of his Justice; therefore, everything that is not pleasant in God’s eyes will be punished.

Verse 35 is the punishment that will be given to Jerusalem for the things that will happen in that town. Jesus said, “Look, your house is left to you desolate.”

That was exactly what happened, after about 40 years after Jesus’ exclamation, in the year 70, Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed by Emperor Titus and Nero, and that was followed by the exile of the Jewish people in 135 by Emperor Hadrian. Jerusalem was pulverized along with the relocation of the Jewish people from their own homes.

Jesus then quoted Psalm 118:26 that says, “you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” What He meant was that He was the Messiah and He will return to Jerusalem with thankfulness, and Jerusalem will become a new Jerusalem and everyone will welcome His second coming.

The Word of God today gives a lesson about a few important things that we can take. First, let us not generalize everything and produce a false interpretation.

If all these times we know how evil the Pharisees were toward Jesus, we cannot generalize them now, because we know that there were a few who supported and sympathized Jesus. Generalization have the potential for false accusations and sin. This is something that we must avoid from our peers. We cannot create a judgmental stereotype toward people based on characteristics of a few members of that group.

There are many of us who think like this. Many of us with a bad experience toward a certain people from a certain group will often generalize everyone in that group and attribute that negative label to them.

One bad experience cannot be the concluding end of how that person is, because the following experiences with those people will consequently be negative. To judge a book by its cover is a mistake, to regard a person based on their appearance is wrong. Therefore, let us be careful to draw conclusion toward people based on stereotypes. To avoid the stereotypes, let us start a new and get a new perspective clean from judgments, and look at the world from an objective perspective.

The second lesson from this reading is that whenever there is a path or goal, there will always be obstacles, temptations, and threats.

The threats can even go as far as taking one’s life, but as we read, even then Jesus was not afraid. Abraham was not afraid to hold on to God’s promise (Exodus 15:1-12). Jesus was not afraid because He knew what was beyond His death. He was posed, because His way was clear. We should ask why did Jesus want to go through all that.

33 years prior to this event in Luke 2:11 it says, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Thirty-three years long Jesus lived for His one mission, Salvation, and in the span of 33 years, the temptations to abandon His mission for salvation arose many times. We know that in Jesus’ times, Israel was under the Roman ruler, and Israel needed a savior from the ruling of the Romans. Many Israelites wanted Jesus as their new king. Jesus was tempted to save Israel from the Romans and become King of the world, or to follow His mission of salvation, and die on the cross for us, for those who believe in Him.

Do we not live in this world with a mission that we have to hold onto? Many times we face obstacles, and temptations.

Maybe today we look at our family life that is currently in disarray, daily arguments, unstable economic standing, or even the lack of harmony. As Jesus did in His mission, we must continue to press onward to recover our family’s wellbeing.

Maybe today there are many of us who is yet to be employed, even though we have been looking tirelessly. That is our mission, to not give up on seeking a job that God is willing to give us.

Maybe even today there are some of us who are fighting a sickness. Whenever we battle sickness whether temporary or chronic, we are tempted to complain, lose hope, and show anxiety. Our mission is to battle the struggle and believe that God will help us through the hands of the doctors, and let us continue to hold on to faith that we have toward God.

Maybe even right now while we are practicing a life filled with love as Jesus has taught us, but there are not many warm receptions in this world. Maybe our hearts will be filled with sadness, but continue to love each other. Continue to live in love as Jesus did. Continue to point your steps toward Jerusalem, toward the Way of Suffering to complete the way toward salvation by the cross. For all of us, and everyone who believes.

The Rumengan Sisters praising Lord at Sunday Worship, February 21, 2016