This morning, Jesus says “Come and walk with me on the road to Emmaus”. Remember how Jesus met the 2 disciples after His resurrection while they were walking on he road to Emmaus? Remember what He did then (Luke 24:27)? “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning Himself”. So that’s where He takes me into the Old Testament and reminds me of some of the salient pointers to His coming to the earth. Like Gen 3:15, Like the promise to Abraham and his Seed, like the rescue of the Israelites from Egypt at Passover, the giving of he covenant promise, the whole sacrificial system, like the kings especially King David and many others.
The main point of this tour, however seemed to focus on how Israel looked at the end of all that. The Israel Jesus was born into. I was pulled up short – a nation in tatters as a result of years of disobedience. A nation in bondage on the one hand to the Roman overlords, on the other had to the religious leaders, Pharisees etc and then to extreme poverty. A nation in a very sad state. Yet there was a remnant that was expecting Messiah to come. A faithful remnant.
Surprize, surprize, He follows this with: “this is like South Africa at the moment. A country in tatters. A nation in bondage to poverty, crime, corruption. A nation, once known for its Christian stance. Now riddled with corruption, apostacy, drunkenness, murder, domestic violence and lately in bondage to a huge plague – a nation looking and hoping for a saviour. Most are expecting a scientist, a vaccine, an economic genius, a real leader who will lead us out of this mess. But, Jesus says, “I am doing a work of refining in S.A. I am starting with the visible church – I am strengthening and purifying the true Church. I am strengthening the real believers – I am building My kingdom. But there is judgement – “It is time for judgement to begin with the family of God”.
“The rescue that I sent to Israel, was entirely different to what they were expecting. Just so with S.A. I will come – I am already there to do this work. You have a role to play, as does every true believer – just remember that all the glory must come to Me.”
My reading Luke 3:1-9. Here’s John the Baptist again, with his chosen role. The role of preparing the way for the coming of the true Saviour of Israel and the world. He has a simple message: “Repent, and demonstrate the genuineness of your repentance by the fruit of repentance, the fruit that proves the change, the fruit of the Holy Spirit coming, cleansing like a refiner’s soap and renewing a spirit of love, of purity and honesty, not only when others are looking.
Jesus came to an Israel that was not ready for His way of salvation, yet there was a remnant that was ready at that time, like Zachariah, like Elizabeth, like Joseph, Mary, Simeon, Anna and others. The simple people were the ones that accepted and welcomed Him. Praise the Lord, there is a huge remnant here in S.A. Many who are longing for a revival. Longing for the real Saviour to come. We each have a role to play: Starting with ourselves. being prepared to repent and truly turn to God and take up our cross and follow Him. Then we have a role to play as His witnesses, as His prayer army, as the extension of His arm of love to those who are broken. It is time for a new and different “Salvation Army”. Are you on for it this year? This could be the most amazing year in the history of S.A. not like last year.