Instead we face isolation, stripped of our usual patterns of worship and service.
Surrounded by uncertainty and life-threatening situations, we share some of the emotions of the believers in the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Their lives were being upended. The source of their hope and joy was being torn away. Their lives were at risk, and they wondered why Jesus wasn’t miraculously changing the course of events.
Jesus knew how His last week would culminate. With an incredibly intimidating trial, torture, and death just days away, it’s remarkable what He accomplished during those final hours. Beginning with His triumphal entry to Jerusalem, right up until His arrest, Jesus continued ministering and preparing His followers in many ways:
1. He created opportunities for praise and worship“As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him… all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.” (Luke 19:36-38)
2. He showed compassion“But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep.” (Luke 19:41-44)
3. He restored the Temple“Then Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people selling animals for sacrifices… ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:45-48)
4. He shared the Word every day“After that, he taught daily in the Temple.” (Luke 19:47)
5. He was intentional about daily prayer“Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives [to pray].” (Luke 22:39 emphasis added) Jesus didn’t spend the week wallowing in self-pity or fear over His situation. He stayed actively involved. He showed care for others. He furthered the ministry His Father sent Him to do.
As present-day believers, how can we be more like Jesus? While the Coronavirus crisis is a difficult season, it can also be a tremendous opportunity. The world may be shutting down, but it’s not a spiritual shutdown. Being confined to our homes is a rare moment that might not come back to us again – an opportunity to renew and restart our relationship with God. We can do this by following that same list of examples Jesus set for us:
1. Create opportunities for praise and worshipLook for the opportunities God provides to proclaim the amazing things Jesus has done. Thank God for the ways He continues to provide. Be confident that what's going on is part of His plan, even if it may be difficult to see now. (Romans 8:28-29).
2. Show compassionAsk God to align our hearts with His for the people around us. Perhaps more than ever, they’re in need of care, and may be more open to hear the good news of Jesus. (1 John 3:16-18)
3. Restore our templeIn a time of forced solitude, ask God to show us areas in our personal lives that need purification. Make godly decisions on our TV and movies choices. Spend more time with family and reset the compass of our family’s spiritual direction. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
4. Continue to learn and shareWe may have more time than usual to dive into God’s Word. Resist the urge to endlessly scroll through Netflix and social media feeds, and instead turn to Christian authors or the array of solid biblical teaching available on the web (like growingchristians.org!). Pay increased attention to whatever God wants to teach us to ready us for the days ahead. (Colossians 3:16)
5. PrayFinally, follow Jesus’ habit of dedicated prayer. Set time aside in your schedule where you can retreat for at least a moment of quiet and focused prayer. (Ephesians 6:18)
It’s often been said that we make time for the things that are important to us, and for the things we love. Let’s use our time during this COVID lockdown in valuable ways that show how important Jesus is in our lives.
Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
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