Something occurred to me the other day when thinking about Jesus’ betrayal and death. The “good” people of Israel, the religious ones, the priests and such, were all meeting and conspiring together to deal with Jesus. This was happening when Pesach preparations started. They were using their time and energy to feed their hate and resentment, conspiring and – if you’ve ever seen a group of Orthodox Jewish men “discussing” anything you know this is true – yelling and screaming at each other. (no offense to any Orthodox Jews. I’ve known a few fairly well and they are a pretty passionate bunch.) I don’t know much of the preparations for passover celebration, but I don’t think “plot to kill someone you see as a threat” is on the to do list.
And what’s more convicting than that, it occurred to me how much more am I preparing for passover? Am I just going about my life, doing whatever I normally do, and not preparing my heart and mind for the days of reflection on our passover Lamb who suffered and died for me?
It’s the work of the Spirit that calls us to repentance. Am I allowing the Spirit to bring to my attention His work of removing the sins of my heart and mind in these days? Or am I drowning Him out with lesser things, mundane things, things that have no eternal value? What areas of my heart am I ignoring, denying, deceiving myself in? Where have I become stubborn and unwilling to admit my error and faulty thinking? Even if it isn’t plotting to kill anyone, am I harboring bitterness and resentment against someone? Who do I need to truly forgive and see as forgiven in the eyes of God? Who do I need to go to and ask for forgiveness?
These are the hard to do lists. We don’t like them much. Plotting someone’s demise seems a lot more fun and definitely easier. But in the long run, unrepented sin and the weight of guilt and shame as its inevitable result is never going to be easy.
I pray for my church, the Church across the world, all believers today. I pray that we will be called to repent. I pray we will be shown the places in our hearts and minds and souls that need to be done away with. I pray we will see nailed to the cross of Christ the weight of our sin and its lasting consequences, that Christ has made a way for us to not be chained and enslaved to those things any more. I pray that we will give up our self-centeredness and personal entitlement to comfort. I pray that we will stop justifying ourselves in our greed, in our need for power and status, in our fight against others. I pray we will sit quietly at the foot of the cross tonight and earnestly seek God’s wisdom and truth, that we will be open and willing to be shown by His Spirit how very wrong we are, how we are an adulterous and sinful people. I pray that He will deal mercifully with us this evening and tomorrow, as we reflect on the pains of the cross, the cross WE made for Jesus, the cross WE put Him on. I pray we will be broken as He was, crushed under the weight of our sin, driven to our knees – no – our faces on the ground in thanksgiving and gratitude, overwhelmed by the amount of Grace needed and given on our behalf. I pray the Church will be done with lesser things, that we will rise up as a people with purpose and clarity of vision. That the dross will be removed from our eyes so we clearly see Jesus. That our souls will be unencumbered by our depravity and flawed minds so we can let the Spirit control our minds and actions and words. That we will take up His cross daily so we can follow Him wherever He may lead and ONLY where He leads. Sisters and brothers, repent. For the Kingdom of God is at hand.