For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10, NLT)
Each Easter we spend time rereading and experiencing the story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Right before Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem is a very short little story about a very short little man names Zacchaeus. That story ends with the above verse that reminds all of us what Easter is all about.
We learn so much about Jesus and ourselves as we revisit this story.
We are reminded how very much Jesus loves us, and that He chose this road.
We learn that people are fickle and wicked. We are selfish and often hateful when things don’t go our way. The crowd goes so quickly from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify Him!” that we almost get whiplash as readers. But that is the human condition without Jesus. We are thrown about by our every whim or the influence of our culture and political scene. Our emotions run away with us, and we can be right in the middle of the hateful mob screaming “Crucify Him!” with the others.
We learn what true love looks like not only in His sacrifice, but in His interactions with Judas, His betrayer. He didn’t just wash the “good” disciples’ feet. He washed Judas’ feet right along with them. He didn’t just sit at the Passover table with the eleven, but Judas was there, and he served Judas along with them. He knew what Judas was about to do, and He didn’t hate him or send him away in shame. He doesn’t wash over the situation either making excuses for Judas. He says plainly that it would have been better if Judas had never been born rather than go through what he was about to do. Rather than this being a hateful judgment about Judas, it seems like Jesus is wishing Judas could avoid the horrible pain he is about to experience later that evening.
We learn that our ideas are not the same as God’s. We are reminded that Jesus’ death took place when Rome ruled Jerusalem. The people of Israel were looking for a Savior, but they were looking for a political savior. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, He rode into town as leaders often did under Roman rule. They paraded in on horseback or on other animals. It is understandable that the people celebrated Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with palm branches and cheers. At that moment, they probably thought they were seeing their political deliverance coming through those city gates. Maybe that is why we see such a quick turn in their attitudes as they realize He’s not going to do what they want and lead a revolt against Rome.
Today, probably more than ever in my lifetime, it seems we are crying out for a political savior as well. Our nation is struggling. We are divided, and many things cause fear and concern in our world today. It seems that we, on both sides of political issues, are seeking relief and salvation of sorts.
However, just as Christ came to offer the Israelites so much more than a political deliverance, He is offering us the same:
He came to seek and save the lost. He does not want any to perish. He wants all to come to salvation.
(Salvation means saved from eternal separation from God and eternal punishment, to accept His forgiveness and cleansing from sin or the thoughts, actions, words, and omissions that are against God’s perfect ways and plan, and to have a real, living relationship with Him as His children, His friends, and He as our Lord, Savior, and Heavenly Father).
We need revival and spiritual awakening.
(Revival means those of us who have been followers of Christ for a while ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us any areas where we have strayed from being faithful to Him resulting in repentance and renewal. Some think revival is all about signs and wonders, miracles and healings. These may happen during revival, and they may not. True revival is about humbling ourselves before God and submitting to Him, relying on Him for forgiveness and a renewed relationship with Him. Spiritual awakening is for those who have not yet followed Christ; they are spiritually dead to Christ, and spiritual awakening means they open their lives to God and choose to trust in Him as Lord and Savior and choose to follow Christ).
These are our only hope. These are what Easter is truly all about.
This Easter, I pray that we seek revival rather than revolt, our eternal Savior rather than a political savior. I’ve prayed for God to open our eyes to our sin, our pride, our selfishness, our fear, and our rebellion. This Easter, as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, I pray we repent and find true revival and spiritual awakening. Following Christ with our whole hearts is the only true hope any of us have in good times or in bad. Jesus is our Living Hope!
I pray Jesus can rejoice with us and proclaim like He did with Zacchaeus,
“Salvation has come to this home today…” (Luke 19:9, NLT)