Theme: The Chief Barrier in Coming to Jesus
In this week leading up to Easter, we focus on an event that shows how Jesus would have received the crowds on Palm Sunday if they had truly come to him in faith and repentance.
Scripture: Luke 13:31-35
Yesterday we concluded by talking about people’s resentment toward God for having characteristics that sinners hate. Sovereignty was the first one we mentioned, which you see demonstrated on Palm Sunday, as Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a king who is marked by humility.
The people understood something of what Jesus was doing, because as Luke himself points out in his account of this, when they saw Jesus coming they cried out in a loud voice, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” (19:38a)! The disciples, later as they had opportunity to reflect upon it, recognized that not only was this true of Jesus, but that it was a prophecy of something that occurred in Zachariah 9:9: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘See your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” But some who saw Jesus really didn’t want a king, any more than you and I.
It’s true they went out and it was a big celebration, in the same way we might go out to meet some celebrity that came to Philadelphia. But they didn’t want him to be a king, at least not the kind of king he wanted to be. They wouldn’t mind a figurehead. They wouldn’t mind somebody indulgent. They wouldn’t mind somebody that kept other people in line. But Jesus isn’t that kind of a king. Jesus is the one who demands to rule your life, because of who He is. You and I stand against it. That really is why they crucified Him. They said, “We will not have this man to rule over us.” When Pilate presented Him and said, “Behold your king,” what did they say? They said, “We have a king. His name is Caesar.” The people then said of Jesus, “Crucify Him.”
Well, it’s the same with whatever additional characteristic of Christ or God the Father you take. If you talk about His holiness we are hostile to Him for that because we are not holy, and so His holiness exposes us. That’s why the leaders of the people hated Him particularly. You see, before Jesus came to earth they were the holy people. Everybody looked up to them. They said, “Oh, aren’t these Pharisees, and scribes, and Sadducees, and leaders of the people holy people?” Then Jesus appeared and next to His holiness the leaders’ righteousness, appeared as filthy rags, to use the term from Isaiah. They resented Him for it. Whenever you see Jesus in His holiness you see something about your sin. Unless you have the grace of God to recognize that it’s dealt with in Jesus Christ in order that He might make you holy, you resent Him for that and resist His rule.
If you talk about His omniscience, you resist Him for that because it means that He knows you as you are, and none of us wants to be known as we are. We spend a great deal of effort trying to cover it up by how we dress and talk, and where we go, and the friends we have. We are all presenting images of ourselves that are not quite honest. But what do we do with God, as The Book of Common Prayer expresses it, “before whom all hearts are open, all desires known”? That is one thing that bothered people with Jesus; they knew that He saw within them. His eyes pierced the covering that they’d wrapped around their hearts.
We could also say this about God’s other attributes. So we resist God’s truth because He exposes us for our untruthfulness. We resist Him for His grace because we’re not gracious. We don’t like to admit that. We tend to think we’re very gracious people, but actually we are filled with pride and prejudice and resentment. God’s graciousness shows our lack of grace.
Above all, perhaps, we resist God for His immutability. This means that He doesn’t change in any of those other attributes. So not only is He sovereign, but He will always be sovereign. Not only is He holy, He will always be holy. Not only is He omniscient, He will always be omniscient. Not only is He gracious, He will always be gracious. Not only is He truthful, He will always be truthful. Although we may not like it there is nothing that we can do about it.
What attributes of God are mentioned and why do people hate them?
List some other characteristics of God and why people hate them as well.
Application: Pray about and then look for opportunities to tell people why God is not to be hated for His attributes, but to be believed on and worshipped.