the stone is rolled away - day 2 of 10
APRIL 11, 2022 Special Devotion Written by Dr. Dan Bolin - Taking a Deeper Look into the Wonder of Easter
While riding into Jerusalem, watching the palm branches wave, hearing the roar of Hosanna, and feeling the excitement in the air, Jesus must have experienced an amazing array of emotions. His moment of joy would soon pivot into intense pain, deep sorrow, and utter abandonment. Anticipating the agony that awaited, Jesus approached Jerusalem with a broken heart. Luke tells us that as Jesus approached Jerusalem, he began to weep. He foresaw the destruction that awaited Jerusalem due to their blindness and their rejection of the Prince of Peace. As Jesus surveyed the city, he wept over the physical and spiritual trauma on the horizon. . . They will not leave one stone on another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you (Luke 19:41, 44b). But Jesus’ broken heart was also an angry heart. Once inside the city, he observed the mockery and defilement of the temple area. Mark records, Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. (Mark 11:11). Jesus’ anger was not like our impulsive, irrational, and self-centered anger. The anger that Jesus displayed was strategic, thoughtful, and flowed not from concern for himself, rather to defend the glory of his Father and provide a learning experience for others. The setting was a bizarre bazar. Merchants, abusing the sacrificial system for their personal financial gain, had turned the temple area into an illicit animal market. They found fault with the pilgrim’s heartfelt offerings, and required them to purchase new, ‘certified’ animals that met their fraudulent requirements. The scammers demonstrated no concern for people’s contrite hearts, nor did they show any respect for the merciful, forgiving, and almighty God. They manipulated God’s compassionate plan for contrarious hearts to receive forgiveness to line their pockets. This disregard and disrespect for God and his merciful heart should have made everyone angry. Many were irritated by the injustice that abused those who were swindled, but Jesus was also incensed by the disrespect for his Father. Jesus was not happy, but he did not react impulsively, he slept on his concern, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. The next morning, he appropriately expressed his noble outrage. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the table of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. (Mark 11:15-16). The passage continues, And as he taught them, he said, Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers. (Mark 11:17). Jesus’ objective was not to vent his wrath; his angry heart remained the heart of a teacher. His actions created a teachable moment and he used it to remind the throng of his Father’s desire to welcome all people into a relationship with Him. Any obstacle to that communion would lead to a strategic, thoughtful and angry response. Jesus’ heart was broken and angry and it was also a courageous heart. Instead of remaining outside of the city, or in seclusion within the walls of Jerusalem, Jesus directly engaged those who opposed him. They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. By what authority are you doing these things? they asked. And who gave you authority to do these things? (Mark 27-28). Jesus knew the events that would unfold in the next few days, but he courageously confronted the religious leaders who wanted to kill him. He confounded their condescending critiques and demolished their calculated questions. They took their turns, the Pharisees and Herodians questioned him first, the Sadducees followed, and then a teacher of the law. One by one, like a Jujitsu master, he used the force of their arguments against them. As the conversations ended, Mark records the humiliating reality, And from then on no one dared ask him anymore questions (Mark 12:34b). This Easter, we must ask ourselves:
Does our heart break for the things that broke Jesus’ heart?
Do we respond with a heart of righteous anger at the events that stirred anger in Jesus’ heart?
And are we willing to demonstrate a courageous heart when fears and anxiety deep inside tell us to run and hide?
Jesus' broken heart, angry heart, and courageous heart would cease to beat in a few days. But to the end, he modeled for us the qualities we need with all his heart.
Dan Bolin President Refueling in Flight Ministries, Inc