This last week we all celebrated Palm Sunday and now we look forward to Easter Sunday. In the Palm Sunday passage while Jesus begins to ride into Jerusalem it states:
“And many spread their cloaks on the road…”
Why were these people laying all their cloaks on the ground so that the donkey could walk over with Jesus? In a quick answer it is a way of submitting and acknowledge Jesus as King. One commentator state, “Cloaks on the road symbolized the crowd’s submission to Jesus as King…”(ESV Study Bible). I just want to bring this to our minds this week. These people were by the act of laying down their cloaks submitting to Jesus as King and Lord over them.
What does that have to do with us today? I find it easy to read this passage and move on quickly to celebrating Jesus as King. However, we bypass how the crowd reacted and keep ourselves at arms distance with how we should respond to this. Let me explain what I mean.
Too often we like the idea of following Jesus but when it comes to submitting to Him as King we don’t. We hold onto us being King and leader over our life not Jesus. Many times, we think, yes Jesus can forgive my sins but I want to run my life. Here in lies the challenge. Jesus is really King and we are called to follow Him as King. In following him we must be willing to submit to Him as leader and King of our life. Jesus in fact stated:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me…”
Meaning in following Jesus we are to lay down our desires and ourselves as king and submit to Jesus as King, letting Him lead us. So here is my question for us this week: What is your “cloak” that you hold onto? Meaning, what stops you from submitting to the Kingship of Jesus? Does comfort, money, fear…etc. Whatever it is let us lay those things down before Jesus and submit to Him as King.
by Daniel Storm
In Mark 13 Jesus gives a strong teaching on end times. There has been much discussion throughout the centuries about this teaching as well as his teaching in Matthew 25. We are often left with this question: what does this mean for me today? Is Jesus coming today?
Without getting wrapped up in the details I just want to challenge us this week with one simple thing: always be ready. In fact, in Matthew 25:1-13 Jesus gives a parable about being ready for his coming. Now this does not mean that we stand outside twenty-four hours a day looking to the sky waiting for Jesus to come, but it does mean we are to live with such purpose and drive that Jesus might come today.
Back to the question: What does that mean for me today, right now? I want to note two things.
- It should completely change how we live our lives. Why? Everything here is temporary but life with Jesus is eternal. Too often we get wrapped up chasing and living our life for things that don’t even matter in the end. Jesus, both in Mark 13 and Matthew 25, is telling people to wake up. Don’t waste your life wrapped up in things that in the end don’t matter. Rather live each day fully for Jesus knowing that one day he will come back.
- It should change how we view what is happening around us. Yes, the world is crazy and seems to be getting crazier as the days go on, but don’t let that discourage you. Why? We don’t live for this world and our hope in not in this world. Our ultimate hope isn’t in the perfect government, perfect schools, or even the perfect family. Not that these things wouldn’t be good, but the reality is our hope is in King Jesus who sits upon the throne and who will one day come back to get his own. That means, even if everything seems crazy, Jesus is still in control and will have the last say. Don’t lose hope remember who really sits on the throne.
Therefore, as we read through Matthew 25 and Mark 13 let us not lose focus among the details, let us remember to “be ready”. Always live ready for Jesus to come today. Keep our hearts, minds, and life focus on following Jesus. Yes, hard times will happen and might even get more difficult as the days move forward but do not let that discourage you. Why? Because Jesus is still King and Jesus is coming again soon for his own. The hardship we go through now is only temporary, life with Jesus is forever. I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes by a missionary named Jim Elliott. He stated,
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Elliott believed this so much that he gave up his life alongside four other missionaries (Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Nate Saint, and Pete Fleming) and was killed by the Auca people while trying to reach them with the gospel. They were willing to die because the gospel was more important than their very lives.
We all look up to certain people in our lives, especially when we were children. Maybe you looked up to a parent, uncle, cousin or celebrity. When I was a kid I looked up to Kobe Bryant. The way he dominated the Basketball court blew my mind and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. He greatly impacted my love for both the Lakers and Basketball.
Here is the thing. It isn’t bad to look up to people but it is important to look up to people that will lead you in the right way. If we are aspiring and looking up to those that will draw us away from our walk with God, our focus needs to change.
“Follow me as I follow Christ…” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Jesus notes the importance of who we follow and look up to in the Mark 12. In Mark 12:38-44 there are two people that contrast each other and we need to decide who will we look up to. The first person (group) is the scribes. Jesus states, “Beware of the scribes…” Why are we to beware of them? They are selfish and self-centered. Meaning they seek to glorify themselves and themselves alone. If we look up and follow them we will become like them; self-centered and prideful. This in turn will lead us astray from the purpose God has created us for.
The second person mention is a widow (vs. 41-44). This woman had very little but she gave to the Lord all that she had. Jesus pointed this out to the disciple and he honored the woman in what she did. Why? She was focused on honoring and following God with her life and all she had.
Why do I note this? Today we are influenced by many people but it is our choice who we decide to look up to and follow. If we follow someone or a group of people that are focused only on themselves and glorifying themselves this will lead us away from God and his calling upon our life. However, if we look up to someone who is putting God and others first we too will walk in this way honoring and glorifying God with our lives.
My simple challenge for us today is who do we look up to and follow? In I Corinthians 15:33 it states,
“Bad company corrupts good character…”
Meaning who we surround ourselves with and look up to will affect us and if we surround ourselves and follow people that aren’t following God it will lead us astray.