Valentines Day Research
I’m Doing The Right Things, So Why Do I Feel Empty ? by Mike Turner
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
I’m Doing The Right Things, So Why Do I Feel Empty ?
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
ILL. Have you heard the story about the actor who was playing the part of Christ in the Passion Play in the Ozarks? As he carried the cross up the hill a tourist began heckling, making fun of him, & shouting insults at him. Finally, the actor had taken all of it he could take. So he threw down his cross, walked over to the tourist, & punched him out. After the play was over, the director told him, "I know he was a pest, but I can’t condone what you did. Besides, you’re playing the part of Jesus, & Jesus never retaliated. So don’t do anything like that again." Well, the man promised he wouldn’t. But the next day the heckler was back worse than before, & finally the actor exploded & punched him out again. The director said, "That’s it. I have to fire you. We just can’t have you behaving this way while playing the part of Jesus." The actor begged, "Please give me one more chance. I really need this job, & I can handle it if it happens again." So the director decided to give him another chance. The next day he was carrying his cross up the street. Sure enough, the heckler was there again. You could tell that the actor was really trying to control himself, but it was about to get the best of him. He was clinching his fists & grinding his teeth. Finally, he looked at the heckler & said, "I’ll meet you after the resurrection!" (from sermoncentral)
Can you identify at all with this guy ? Have you tried being like Christ, and yet you end up frustrated ? Perhaps, you can identify with these.
I try so hard to do the right things, and yet I feel so empty. I teach a Sunday School class, and yet I feel so frustrated. I work hard at being a good Christian wife, at raising my children right, and yet I feel so unfulfilled ! I’ve done so much for others, and yet I feel under appreciated. I’m beginning to think that it’s about time that I do something for me. Maybe it’s time that I take care of #1. After all, no one appreciates the what I’ve done, and it’s really not gotten me anywhere ! Do any of these sayings sound like you ? Have you ever felt any of these feelings. This evening I want us to look at the subject of: "I’m Doing The Right Things, So Why Do I Feel Empty ?"
Why the emptiness in spite of your efforts in doing what is right ? It could be that the problem lies not in what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it ! You see with the Lord "motive matters !" That is what these first three verses of this wonderful chapter are all about ! It’s about "why we do the things we do", and "what the result is when we fail to do them with the right motive or intentions." Let me share four thoughts with you from these three verses.
I. Speech Without Love Is Empty. V.1
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking off our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you!
Yours Forever, Marie
P.S. And congratulations on winning the state lottery!!! (joke from sermoncentral)
We can go to great lengths in sayings the right things. We can express love through our speech, but if there is no genuine love behind our words, then it leads to emptiness ! Words are awful hollow if there is no love to support them !
"Sounding brass" is not speaking of a musical instrument, but is speaking of a piece of metal and the sound it emits when struck !
The word "tinkling" is the same word translated "wailed" in Mark 5:38
The word is used to describe those who were paid to mourn at funerals !
Our words have no significance without love ! They are empty, and so vain without love !
II. Studies Without Love Is Empty.
V. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; ........and have not charity, I am nothing .
I’ve heard it said...."People will not care about how much we know until they know how much we care !"
Is doctrine important ? Absolutely ! Yet, we can have the right doctrine. We can preach, and teach the right truths, but if we lack love....we will be empty. To be fulfilled in the Christian life, one needs doctrine, and devotion, principles, and passion, conviction, and charity !
We can believe the right thing, teach the right thing, preach the right thing, and yet not be full ! Our studies, our doctrine, our teaching, our preaching, our very lives must be saturated with the love of God, and love for him.
Absence of love was the problem with the church at Ephesus. They did the right things. They said the right thing. They held to the right doctrine, but they had forgotten the very thing that had saved them, and made them who, and what they were. They had forsaken, neglected their first love !
III. Spirituality Without Love Is Empty.
..."and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of faith ? Wouldn’t you love to be that "Spiritual" ?
Yet, Paul reminds us that "charity" is the key. Even if we had the before mentioned faith, and were able to do great things. It would be of no profit, no benefit without love ! The proper motive is important. And our motive must be love of Christ, and love for Christ !
Isn’t is true that so many place so much emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit that they forget the giver ?
Are we not guilty of that very thing ? We are gifted by the Holy Spirit, but trying to use those gifts without the proper motivation which is love will only lead to a lack of fulfillment !
IV. Service Without Love Is Empty.
V3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed .....
2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
What lies behind your service ? Why are you a deacon ? Well....the church ordained me ! Why do you teach Sunday School ? No one else would do it ! Why do we do benevolent ministry.....why bereavement ministry ? It is our duty....it is our responsibility ! Oh...but listen. If that is the driving force behind these ministries, then they will fail ! Eventually they will cease to work ! The end result will be emptiness because we can sell all that we have and give all of it to the poor to make sure they are fed, and will lack love.....it it nothing ! What should we do then ? Quit doing what we’re doing ? Give up our classes ? No...the answer is "to fall in love with Jesus Christ again". Take a fresh look at Calvary again. Remember what he has done for you ! See his love, sense his love. Let is fill every cavity of your soul ! Let your motive be "the love of Christ, and love for Christ" !
V. Sacrifice Without Love Is Empty. V.3
though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Polycarp was the Bishop of the church at Smyrna. He was arrested for his faith, and taken before the Pro-Consul. The Pro-Consul said to him...."Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ." Polycarp answered, "For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me ? The Pro-Consul said..." I have wild beasts. I will deliver you to them, unless you repent." And Polycarp said...."Call for them, for repentance from better to worse is not allowed us; but it is good to change from evil to righteousness." The Pro-Consul said again to him..."I will cause you to be consumed by fire, unless you repent." But Polycarp said: You threaten me with the fire that burns for a time, and is quickly quenched, for you do not know the fire which awaits the wicked in the judgment to come and in everlasting punishment. But why are you waiting ? Come, do what you will." Therefore he was fastened to the instruments which had been prepared for the fire, but when they were going to nail him as well he said: "Leave me thus, for he who gives me power to endure the fire, will grant me to remain in the flames unmoved even without the security you will give by the nails." So they did not nail him, but bound him, and he put his hands behind him and was bound as a noble ram out of a flock, for an oblation, a whole burnt offering made ready and acceptable to God; and he looked up to heaven and said: "O Lord God Almighty, Father of thy beloved and blessed Child, Jesus Christ, through whom we have received full knowledge of thee, the God of Angels and powers, and of all creation, and of the whole family of the righteous who live before thee. I bless thee, that thou hast granted me this day and hour, that I may share, among the number of the martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, for the Resurrection to everlasting life, both of soul and body in the immortality of the Holy Spirit. And may I, today be received among them before thee, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as Thou, the God who lies not and is truth, hast prepared beforehand, and shown forth, and fulfilled. For this reason I also praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee through the everlasting and heavenly high Priest, Jesus Christ, thy beloved Child, through whom be glory to Thee with him and the Holy Spirit, both now and for the ages that are to come, Amen." When he had finished this prayer, the men in charge of the fire lit it, and a great flame blazed up.
Polycarp no doubt was a dear saint of God. Yet, Paul says...."though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing !
Perhaps it is time that we begin again ! Maybe we need to go back to the cross, and see the Savior giving his life........see him shedding his blood because of his love for us, and so that we might be saved. Maybe it’s time to return to the altar, and confess our need for his love, and forgiveness, and ask him to fill us with his love, and fill us with love for him ! Surely it is time to get our priorities right, and have the proper motive in our hearts ! Would you come to the altar tonight, and express your fears, your frustrations, your emptiness, and your need ?
Jesus--The Rejected Lover by David Dykes
Jesus–The Rejected Lover
by David O. Dykes
Have you ever had your love rejected? Her name was Sandra Moody and I first met her in the third grade. I thought she was the most beautiful girl on earth. I can remember thinking, “When I stop hating girls, she is going to be the first one I stop hating!” I actually had a huge crush on her beginning about the sixth grade. She was one of my best friends. Her nickname for me was “flathead” because the back of my head is flat. I hated that nickname–but because I had a crush on her, I endured it. When I was in the seventh grade Sandra gave me her school picture and it was the only one I carried in my newly acquired wallet. I used to take her picture out and kiss it–but I was just her buddy, Flathead. In the eighth grade I finally summoned enough courage to ask her to be my girlfriend. She laughed and said, “Yuck, Flathead, you are like my brother! Besides I’m in love with Mark McCoy.” We continued to be friends, but my heart was good and broken for the first time. After high school, I lost touch with Sandra.
About ten years ago, I was preaching a revival at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. It was advertised in the paper, and one afternoon I got a message from the church secretary to call…Sandra Moody McCoy. She lived in Pensacola and I didn’t even know it. She told me she was going to come to the revival service that night. After the service, I was standing down front and I saw her at a distance, with her three kids and her husband, Mark McCoy. I just knew she was having a hard time restraining herself from running into my arms saying, “Oh, David, the biggest mistake of my life was not becoming your girlfriend in the eighth grade!” But instead, she said, “David! Wow, you’ve got gray hair to go with your flat head!” We laughed and had a short visit and I found myself thinking of that song by Garth Brooks, “I thank God for unanswered prayers!” I’m glad I married Cindy!
But, oh, the pain of rejected love! Some of you have had the same experience, perhaps many times. It hurts when someone rejects your love, whether you are 13, 22, 33 or 73 years old. In the passage today, I want you to see how Jesus’ love is often rejected. Let’s talk about Jesus, the rejected lover.
Before we read, let me review the context and setting. Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem to be crucified. (see 13:22) The opposition against him was growing stronger and more vocal. The common people loved him and heard Him gladly, but the religious crowd hated Him because He exposed their hypocrisy. Let’s pick up with Luke 13:31-35:
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day–for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
In these words you can almost feel the depth of love and compassion He had for His people. That’s the same kind of love He has for you today, so let’s learn three things about Jesus’ love.
1. JESUS IS A FEARLESS LOVER
The Pharisees warned Jesus that Herod was out to kill Him, so He had better leave town by sundown. He was no friend of the Pharisees, so this warning was probably a scare tactic intended to spook Jesus.
Herod Antipas was a powerful governor who had the authority to execute anyone he desired. A few months earlier he beheaded John the Baptist at the request of his cunning stepdaughter, who was also his niece. Herod had nightmares that Jesus was actually John come back from the dead.
Jesus’ reply is priceless. He makes a joke of Herod. He says, “You tell that fox...” That’s an example of Hebrew humor, but I noticed none of you laughed. Maybe you Texans just don’t appreciate good Hebrew humor. He was offering a caricature of Herod as a sneaky, cunning, predatory animal–actually pretty funny if you knew anything about Herod! He was more animal-like in his passions than human.
This response reveals Jesus’ courage. He is a fearless lover. He indicated He was going to keep on doing what He had been doing and Herod wouldn’t slow Him down. He had a job to do and He had a goal to accomplish. In verse 32 He said, “I WILL reach my goal.” His goal was to redeem sinful mankind–and He knew He would have to die as the sacrificial lamb to provide forgiveness. Nothing would cause Him to detour from the destination of the cross. He wasn’t afraid of Herod because He knew He already had a date with a death, and it wouldn’t be at the hands of Herod. Jesus didn’t die some martyr’s death over which He had no control. They didn’t execute Him; He willingly laid His life down. He makes that clear by what He said in John 10:17-18: “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” I have always been fascinated by that phrase from Revelation 13:8 which says Jesus was the Lamb of God who was “slain from the foundation of the earth.” The cross was not an afterthought of God. It was not “Plan B,” because Adam and Eve sinned. It was not the contingency plan–it was always God’s plan.
In a few days, Jesus was going to carry a literal cross from Pilate’s fort to a hill outside Jerusalem. But Jesus was already carrying that cross in His mind and heart. At the beginning of His ministry He knew He would die and rise again. He said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” (John 2:19) That’s why He was a fearless lover.
Human nature always wants to “detour from the difficult” instead of staying the course. Human nature says, “Get out of that bad marriage” or “Don’t submit to that difficult boss.” But there is a cross for all who would follow Jesus, and we must be fearless in carrying it.
Here’s the personal APPLICATION for each of us:
When I belong to God, I don’t have to fear any fox!
Jesus laughed and said, “You tell that fox...” On the surface, it seems as if Herod was the old fox who was being laughed at, but on a different level, I think Jesus was also laughing at the fox of death, the death Herod had the power to inflict. Jesus laughed at death.
When you are carrying the cross of Jesus, you have already died to self. You can’t scare a dead man. When you’re carrying the cross, it’s a liberating experience because you don’t have to be afraid of anybody or anything.
I recall when the ship captain delivered the first missionaries to the wild New Hebrides Islands, he said, “I don’t know why you are going to those savages because they will kill you.” The missionary replied, “They can’t kill us because we have already died.” The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (I John 4:18) That’s why Jesus wasn’t afraid, because He possessed a perfect love for us. And we don’t have to be afraid because of His perfect love for us. Jesus laughed in the face of the fear of death. When you are carrying the cross, you can laugh at any other threat, too.
I read an interesting story some time ago about the history of Atlanta, Georgia. In the 1950s the Ku Klux Klan staged an annual march down Auburn Street, which was the section of town where most of the African-Americans lived. The purpose of the march was to instill fear in the hearts of those black folks–and for years it worked. They hid or left town on the day of the march, afraid or humiliated by this display of hatred based solely on the color of one’s skin.
One year before the march, however, a pastor preached on “perfect love casts out all fear.” And he challenged his congregation to show that they weren’t afraid of the marchers. He told them not to return the hatred of the marchers, or to be violent, just show them they weren’t afraid. So, instead of some ugly confrontation the black folks decided to just watch the parade. When the Klan started parading by in their robes and hoods, the black folks lined Auburn Avenue and started laughing at them. Instead of being afraid, they were rolling on the sidewalks in laughter at the silly sight. That was the last year the Klan ever marched down Auburn Avenue.
I love the comment about the “Proverbs 31 woman.” (Proverbs 31:25) It says a godly woman is able to “laugh at the days to come.” When you are carrying the cross, you can face any threat of the future and laugh at it. That’s what Jesus did–He made a joke about Herod and his deathly threat. What are you afraid of today? Death? Financial ruin? Terrorist attack? Disease? When you truly belong to God there is nothing in this life that can rob you of your joy and your promise of eternal life. Some people go through this life whining and complaining and moaning and groaning that life isn’t fair. Hey, this life isn’t fair, but this life isn’t all there is! Turn to the person next to you and say, “This life isn’t fair–but God is good all the time. So get over it, and get under the cross!” Start living a life under the cross where you can laugh at the things that ought to scare you. Jesus is a fearless lover and what a lesson for us!
2. JESUS IS A PROTECTIVE LOVER
This passage could be called Animal Planet because Jesus makes references to two different animals. He compared Herod and death to a fox, and He compared Himself to a mother hen. Look at verse 34 again. He says, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Can you hear the depth of passion and heartache in that cry? There are many pictures in the Bible that describe God’s nature and character: He is a rock, the door, a shepherd, the light...there are many others. God’s character is so multi-faceted that none of these images fully communicate the richness of His nature. Each one gives us a small insight into how He wants to relate to us. This is an unusual one, but have you ever thought of God as a mother hen?
Halfway down the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, there is a small chapel built by the Franciscan order called Dominus Flevit, Latin for “The Lord wept.” It’s called the “Chapel of Tears” and the building itself has a teardrop design. Inside there is a window overlooking the temple mount where the Muslim Dome of the Rock is now located. I like this window because it places the cross over Jerusalem. This is the site where scholars believe Jesus paused to weep over Jerusalem, which we will read about in Luke 19.
Inside this chapel is a beautiful mosaic that captures this image. You can see a hen with her wings outstretched with little chicks underneath. The Latin inscription around the mosaic is verse 34, and the last words “but you were not willing” are written in red. It’s as if Jesus is still standing over Jerusalem with His arms of love outstretched and the Jews and Palestinians are unwilling to accept His love. Jerusalem will never have peace until they acknowledge the Prince of Peace.
Now, I must admit I have never raised chickens, and maybe some of you have, so you may know more about chickens than I do. But you must remember I’m a Baptist preacher, I’ve been eating fried chicken for the past 30 years–so I’m somewhat of an expert! Preachers love chicken. In fact, someone once said a preacher’s belt is simply a leather fence around a chicken graveyard!
I heard about one unusual preacher who didn’t like chicken. He was doing a revival and eating in someone’s home every night. The first night, he was served chicken, as well as the second and third nights. All week long, that’s all he got. And he didn’t like chicken. On the last night, they brought out a big plate of chicken and asked him to say the blessing. By this time he was sick of chicken, so this is the blessing he prayed: “Lord, I’ve had it hot, I’ve had it cold; I’ve had it young; I’ve had it old; I’ve had it tender and I’ve had it tough; but thank you, Lord, I’ve had enough!”
But we can learn something about God by understanding a mother hen. Perhaps the greatest allegory ever written is “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan. In it a man named Christian is on a journey and in one section he learns a lesson from a hen. This is what John Bunyan observed about a hen that can teach us something about God.
(1) A hen constantly calls her chicks
I have been around a chicken yard and heard them clucking, but I thought they were clucking just to hear themselves cluck. Bunyan said each hen has a distinctive cluck and clucks constantly so her chicks can find her. Her chicks recognize her call. Jesus is constantly calling us to Himself as well. He says, “Come unto me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) If we are wise, we will recognize and respond to the call of Jesus. Next, (2) A hen calls them to feed. In every chicken yard there is a clearly established “pecking order.” The most dominant chickens get the first chance at food. As you can imagine, little chicks are pretty far down the pecking order. A good mother hen will find some food and then call her chicks and then allow them to eat before she eats herself. In the same way, Jesus is constantly calling us to Himself and to His Word. The Bible says the Word of God is like milk, meat, and honey. We are to feed on it every day. Finally, Bunyan observed that (3) A hen shelters them from harm. As I studied for this message I was amazed to learn just how protective a hen is of her chicks. If a chicken hawk flies near the chicken yard, the hen will squawk furiously to call her chicks to settle under her wings. As the hawk swoops down, the hen will face the hawk and spread her wings even wider. Since the hen is too heavy for the hawk to carry, the hawk soon leaves–what courage!
One man who grew up raising chickens in Canada relates an amazing story. One day his chicken coop caught fire. They finally extinguished the fire before too much damage occurred. As they searched through the rubble, they found a dead hen near her nest. The hen’s feathers were scorched from the smoke and fire. As he lifted the burned hen from the ashes, he was surprised to see movement below the mother hen. Four small chicks scurried out from under her outstretched wings chirping and cheeping. She could have escaped herself, but she chose to protect her young. There are some great lessons here. Jesus made a way to shelter us from eternal judgement–and He died in the process. There is a great promise given to us about this in Psalm 91:4. The Bible says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” Of course God doesn’t really have feathers, He isn’t a chicken with literal wings. The point is God wants to shelter and protect you from harm. That leads us to our
Personal Application: The only safe place in the universe is under God’s love
Jesus weeps because the Jews didn’t seek shelter under His love. Are you hiding under the wings of God? Smart chicks stay close to the mother hen because there’s a lot of danger in the chicken yard. Some of you have wandered away from the protection and the love of God. Oh, God still loves, you, it’s just that you refuse to remain under His care. There is a very important verse in the little book of Jude that many people have missed. Jude only has one chapter and in verse 21 he writes: “Stay right at the center of God’s love...keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 21, The Message) This doesn’t mean you can make God stop loving you, and there is nothing you can do to make yourself any more or less lovable with God. His love is absolutely unconditional. This verse challenges us to remain in what I call “the Zone of Blessing.” When you are driving along and you enter a school zone, you should slow down. There’s usually a sign that says “leaving school zone” so you can resume the lawful speed limit. You are either in the zone or out of it. It would be wonderful if God would post some kind of sign that had the warning: “YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE ZONE OF GOD’S BLESSING. YOU ARE LEAVING THE CIRCLE OF GOD’S LOVE!”
In a few weeks we will get to the Luke 15 where Jesus tells the story of a son who demanded his inheritance and then left home. The prodigal son left the zone of his father’s blessing, but His father never stopped loving him. He left the circle of his father’s affection. Whenever you disobey and rebel against God, He doesn’t stop loving you, but your disobedience causes you to walk out of the zone of blessing. My dad always loved me, but there were times when I was a teenager that I rebelled and he couldn’t really bless me the way he wanted; I left the zone by my stupid rebellion.
That’s why we are told to “stay right in the center” of God’s love. The Greek verb is the word tareo. (tay-ree’-o) It’s a word that was used of a prisoner who was “locked in prison.” We should make sure we are locked into the center of God’s love and then we should throw away the key! Like those little chicks Jesus spoke of, we should stay under the protective wings of God. We should be like a little child running to a parent with our arms outstretched and open–and get back into the zone of His blessing and grace. Some of you are Christians and God loves you, but you have left the shelter of His love. Today, you can come back to Him and get back into the center of His love. Finally, we see
3. JESUS IS A REJECTED LOVER
Verse 34 contains five of the saddest words in the Universe. Jesus said, “but you were not willing.” Jesus loves you so much He died for your sins. There is a heaven and a hell, and if a person lives their entire life rejecting His love, they will spend eternity in hell. But I suspect He will say to each person who goes to hell, “I wanted to protect you and shelter you like a hen protects her chicks...BUT YOU WERE NOT WILLING.”
Jesus was sent primarily to redeem Israel, so I can understand how His heart was broken because His Jewish brothers and sisters rejected Him. The Bible says, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:11)
Jesus also says something in this passage that has prophetic implications. In verse 35, Jesus says about Israel, “You will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” God isn’t finished with the nation of Israel. Don’t you think it’s strange that a nation reborn in 1948, that is smaller than Vermont with a population less than the Metroplex is in the news every day? It’s because Israel will play an important role in the end times. Basically, when Israel rejected Jesus it was as if they were blinded to the truth about Jesus. And to this day, most Israelites are blind to the truth about who Jesus is. We are now living in the age of Grace where God’s message of salvation is being offered to the Gentiles. Paul writes in Romans 11:25: “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in.” If you are a little confused here, I encourage you to get my tapes on Romans 11 where I explain this in great detail. That word “hardening” means that they have put scales over their eyes so they cannot see and recognize Jesus. One day that will change. On the day Jesus returns at the Battle of Armageddon, He will stand on the Mount of Olives–perhaps at the very spot where He wept over Jerusalem. At that moment, an amazing thing will happen: the scales will fall off of the eyes of the Jews and they will see Jesus and recognize Him. They will cry out to Him and weep because they killed Him.
This is prophesied in Zechariah. I love to read this book when I’m in Israel, and it usually brings tears to my eyes as I contemplate God’s marvelous plan: God says, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, (Zechariah wrote these words in 500 B.C. long before crucifixion was even practiced!) and mourn for him as one mourns for an only child...if someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I as given at the house of my friend.’” (Zechariah 12:10; 13:6) Hallelujah! One day, Israel will accept their Messiah! Here’s the important
Personal Application: The result of rejecting Jesus’ love is desolation
When I was in the eighth grade, Sandra Moody rejected my love–and the result was only a minor broken heart. The consequences of rejected Jesus’ love are much more severe. In verse 35 Jesus said, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” When He said “house” He was speaking of both the beautiful Temple that sat like a crown jewel on top of Jerusalem as well as their national heritage. Residents of Jerusalem proudly called themselves “the house of David.” Jesus was saying their family background as well as their beautiful Temple would become desolate. And about 40 years later, the Roman General Titus totally destroyed Jerusalem and tore down the Temple–all because they rejected God’s offer of love. And the proud nation of Israel passed out of existence until just 54 years ago. And the Temple Mount is still desolate for the Jews.
This isn’t just true for Israel, however. Any person who rejects God’s love will also experience the same result: spiritual desolation. When I think of the word “desolate” I imagine a dry, barren desert where there is no shade and no water. I’ve known people, and perhaps you are one of them, who are experiencing spiritual desolation. There are no springs of living water bubbling up in their personalities. There is no fruit, no joy, no peace–only barrenness and desolation. Are you there?
The most amazing thing Jesus said in this passage is that you have the power to choose. Those last four words in verse 34 are also some of the most powerful words in the universe. He says to us, “I will love you and shelter you like a mother hen protects her chicks if you are willing.” You have the power to choose. When you choose to change the direction of your life that’s called repentance. Have you ever repented and accepted Jesus’ love?
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish Chemist who invented dynamite and other explosives in the 19th Century. One day he opened his paper and read his own obituary! It said,
Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite died yesterday. He devised a way for more people than ever before to be killed in war, and he died a very rich man.
He was shocked to read those words. Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died and the newspaper made a mistake. But the obituary had a profound effect on Nobel. He didn’t want to be remembered as man who got rich by selling explosives. He changed his will to award money each year to people who promote peace. Today when you hear the name Nobel you don’t think of dynamite, you probably think of the Nobel prizes. Nobel later wrote, “Every man ought to have the chance to correct his obituary in midstream and write a new one.” If you could read your obituary tomorrow, what would it say and what would you want it to say? A newspaper obituary only runs for a couple of days and then it’s forgotten, but your choice regarding Jesus Christ has eternal implications. You have the power to choose to accept God’s love and mercy and forgiveness and to rewrite your eternal obituary!
Today Jesus invites you to run under His wings of safety and warmth. Some of you are Christians who left the circle of His love. He never stopped loving you, but you have vacated that zone of blessing. Will you move back to a position of obedience so He can bless you? Others of you need to accept His love for the first time. Will you do that? Because if you choose not to receive His offer of love, for you He is still Jesus, the rejected lover.