Matthew 22; Mark 14
I love reading the Bible. It can humble me, challenge me, encourage me, or tickle me. Today I was tickled.
Jesus has less than a week to live on planet Earth, as reported in the chapters we read today. He still has a large following, and the Jewish elite are still trying to trap Him: Should we pay taxes? Who is married to whom in the resurrection? What’s the greatest commandment?
They tried hard to get him to say something… anything… that would show Him up in front of his followers, and give them reason to get rid of Him once and for all. So Jesus gave them a bit of their own medicine. He asked them:
How can the Christ be David’s son, if David himself called Him, Lord?
Here’s what tickled me. The large crowd were listening to Jesus answer question after question. They heard Him ask the hard question, too. Their response?
And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him. (Mark 12:37b)
I’m not a preacher. But I think if, after preparing a sermon and preaching my heart out, someone shook my hand on Sunday morning and said, “Enjoyed your sermon today, Pastor,” I’d go home and throw something. If all you get out of hearing God’s Word proclaimed is a good time, then either your pastor isn’t doing his job, or you aren’t going in there prepared to hear what God has to say to you.
I said this verse tickled me. It did. I even laughed out loud. Until I remembered that these very people, these followers who “enjoyed” listening to the exchange between Jesus and the Jewish leaders, were the same ones who cried, “Crucify Him,” only days later. I guess they’d stopped enjoying what they were hearing.
Your pastor is preparing a message he’ll give two days from now. Are you preparing, too? God has something to say to you through the words He has given your pastor. I can say with confidence that God isn’t interested in tickling your ears, or giving you warm fuzzies so you go away feeling good about yourself. I’m pretty sure He wants to challenge you to live for Him in a more effective way, He wants to put a finger on sin in your life so you’ll repent of it, He wants to humble you, drive you to your knees, so you’ll admit how much you need Him.
I dare you to prepare your heart to be changed Sunday morning. If your pastor is doing his job, and you are doing yours, you can expect something truly amazing to come out of it.
Father, I want to be ready to hear from you on Sunday. I pray that You will point out sin so that I can ask you to forgive me, and enter Your house with a pure heart. I want you to beat me up, if I need it. I want you to humble me, light a spark within me, draw me closer to you. I pray for my pastor. Thank you so much for this man who is truly a vessel you use to speak to me. God, encourage his heart. Give him clarity, discernment, power. May he continue to allow You to speak through him right to me. Defeat Satan’s attempt to block what You want to do in our church. May my pastor be an instrument in Your hands to help me love You more, and serve You better. Bless my pastor today, Lord. And make him a blessing to your people who are not looking for warm fuzzies on Sunday morning.