Fracturing is the natural progression of our world. Time, relationships, dreams––things are fragile sometimes, and we’ve all experienced it. But Jesus is the God who comes to make things whole again. When we celebrate his death and resurrection, we celebrate the reality that resurrection is part of who he IS. Only in Jesus do we find things fitting together in a way that makes us truly whole.
1. You must ask questions.
- When Jesus arrives in Jerusalem for Palm Sunday, the people of Israel welcome him like a king, the Messiah who they expect to come with great political power and liberate them from oppressive Roman rule. Jesus is the king, but it actually means something completely different.
- When Jesus is on trial before his crucifixion, Pilate asks him if he is a king. And it’s good to ask Jesus questions, especially about who he is, because a question is an invitation to have our understanding deepened and corrected. Pilate asks Jesus if he is the promised Messiah-King. He asks Jesus if he is who he says he is. Now, Pilate’s motives are political, but we ought to ask this question to know Jesus more.
- God has room for our questions. Many people who grew up in the Christian tradition received the impression that it’s wrong to ask questions about our faith or to have experiences with doubt, but God is big enough to handle our questions. And there’s room for mystery and paradox within our life with the Lord.
What are your most pressing spiritual questions right now? Spend some time in prayer and reflection, bringing anything that confuses you to the Lord, and ask the Lord to speak to you personally and through his Word.
2. Jesus’ kingdom is beyond this world.
1 Timothy 6:11-16
- Jesus is a king, but he essentially reassures Pilate in this passage––he hasn’t come to overthrow Pilate’s political authority or any other human government. Jesus’ kingdom comes from his own submission to the Father. His kingdom is coming to rescue humanity from Satan’s kingdom and transfer them into the light.
- That’s why it can feel so alien to try to live as a Christian in this world sometimes. We are trying to live into our heavenly kingdom, which comes with a set of ethics that come straight from God’s throne room in heaven, and it’s totally different from the way our various cultures look at ethics and morality.
- In Paul’s instructions to TImothy, he brings up Jesus’ testimony before Pilate, encouraging Timothy to follow Jesus’ own example to remain true to God and his kingdom. Jesus himself is the truth that we need to be ready to confess before others. The confession we need to live by is both our verbal confession and the way we live righteously in the world.
What are the ethics you see defining the western church today? Are you deriving your ethics from the Bible or from secular philosophy? How do you need to return to the ethics of God’s kingdom in your own life?
3. Jesus is the truth.
- Followers of Jesus know that Jesus is the truth, and they hear his voice. Pilate’s response could be genuine confusion, or he might be intentionally sarcastic here. But regardless of his motive, Pilate never changed his decision about Jesus. The goal of the Christian life, and particularly Holy Week, when we celebrate Easter, is to hear the voice of God in such a way that our lives begin to take on the qualities of the kingdom of God in a way that is beyond this world.
- We are really good at thinking ourselves out of God’s best for our lives, but God is always inviting us deeper into his kingdom, into letting Jesus truly reign as king over our lives. And when we submit to his lordship over us, we will actually find ourselves living in greater freedom and in true abundance.
- When you hear the voice of Jesus, don’t start making excuses about why you should ignore what Jesus is saying to you. If you have heard the Lord calling you to obedience, obey to the fullest. Do not rest until the Lord’s good work is being worked out in you. It will always be worth it.
Are there any ways you have been ignoring Jesus’ voice? How will you set aside time this week to listen for God’s voice?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?