Thank you to everyone for your prayers and words of encouragement. It has often been my experience in the past that when I have felt the strongest attack from Satan it, precedes an event in which the Spirit is going to do something great. On Sunday, as I preached, I was so aware of the powerful working of God’s Spirit, as the congregation sat, almost mesmerised, staring at me, waiting for my next word, not a pin dropped, no coughs or sneezes, everyone in the hands of Jesus. Extremely humbling and indeed dangerous to me, as I may take the merit for what was happening.
This morning, listening to the song “Turn your eyes upon Jesus – look full in his wonderful face” – I see a face, with a crown of thorns – with the brightest light shining behind – lighting it up brighter and brighter – even as I watch the broken bleeding and wounded face, it starts to change into that of a lion “The Lion of Judah”.
The word I hear: “Ian, seek first My kingdom and My righteousness and all these things will be added unto you – I want to give to you, but first your attitude must be right – as you preached yesterday – an attitude of no merit – just being receptive to what I want to give you. You can relax and let the whole week slide onto me and I will let it flow – I will feed you every day with my Daily Bread – just allow your mind, heart, body and soul to adore and love Me – don’t hold back.
“I will cleanse your thoughts and lack of forgiveness and your indignation when and as you confess. I am righteous and just and I promise that – even as I have given Jesus as your Advocate, who speaks on your behalf. TRUST ME, TRUST ME IAN – that’s the purpose of all this – to grow your faith, when the lesson is learned the problem will be solved”.
My reading today is Luke 22:62 – 23:25.There is much of importance but here are three things that spoke to me. Firstly: in vs 70 the priests ask Jesus “Are you the Son of God”? He replied “You are right in saying I am.” In Luke 23:3, Pilot asks “Are you the King of the Jews?” And Jesus answers “yes it as you say”. Now remember what the main theme of Luke is “Who is this man?” There has been much evidence up to now and even in all that is happening at this climactic time. But these are a written, absolute confirmation of His identity. Startling, mind-blowing, let everyone sit up and take notice!
Secondly: Pilot in 23:4, “I find no basis for this charge”! again in 23:14, “I find no basis for your charge against Him”. 23:9 Herod plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The solemn verdict of the trial: in great big capital letters “INNOCENT”.
Lastly from 23:23 Pilot wants to release Him, but the crowd prevails by shouting louder and louder, Luke sums it up “and he surrendered Jesus to their will”. Immediately my mind flashes back to another scene, one in a garden with a Man bowed and sweating great drops of blood saying “…..yet not my will, but yours be done”. God’s will, being carried out by an unruly rioting crowd. The Lord’s prayer comes to mind: Let thy will be done! Can we so surrender to God’s will that we are maybe even able to detect His will in the midst of hardship and opposition? Can I do that?
Innocent! Yet He displayed no indignation. Philippians 2:6, “Jesus being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped”. Innocent! He had to be innocent to take our sins upon Himself and suffer the punishment, unrighteously for them on our behalf. Innocent! Have you ever felt like calling that out when you are faced with hardship, a difficult situation, or any suffering? The really Good news is that having experienced this unfair treatment, He is able to understand when we experience anything like that He is the perfect High Priest, who can minister to us in all such situations.
The title for my sermon next week: “The Eye of the Needle”. Please keep praying for the pure Word from God’s Spirit for me, as I prepare.