As Jesus came near Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’
How do we respond to adversity? When things in our lives are going well, it is easy for us to be ‘strong in the faith’. But … what about when the going gets tough? So often, at that moment when we need Jesus the most, we turn our backs on him while we try to ‘sort things out for ourselves’. Just as we should be trusting Jesus to hold and protect, to guide and comfort us, we forget his constant presence and turn in on our own resources, no matter how inadequate they may be.
This reliance on ‘self’ is not unusual, but it is not the way we should behave if we are true followers of Christ. Repeatedly during my ministry I have heard people talk about distancing themselves from Church, and Christ, while they sort out or come to terms with the problems they are facing in their daily lives. This may not be the exact language those people have used, but it is certainly what they have meant. At the very moment when we should be trusting Jesus, our thoughts and our behaviours demonstrate that we are following the path that leads in the opposite direction, the path which, unsurprisingly, leads to disaster.
Today’s reading ends with these words: you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God. That is certainly what we see as we read the gospel narrative. Those amongst whom Jesus lived and walked and worked did not recognize the power that had come amongst them. And, despite our knowing far more of the story, we are just the same. In fact, we take a pride in our resilience and ‘ability’ (if only that were the word) to deal with things in our own strength.
Two thousand years ago God came down to earth. He came to renew the broken relationship between Himself and humanity … a broken relationship that had been entirely the fault of a proud and wilful human race. God walked among us in the form of Jesus Christ and, what is more, he still walks among us. The love and service he modelled during his earthly Incarnation is still there, every moment of every day. But, do we believe that? Do we trust that that is true?
Let us pray that we might be true to our calling and rely first and for ever on Jesus, our risen and ascended Saviour.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 4:11 — 3.8MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | More