Journey to Jerusalem: A Hard Truth

A Hard Truth

Luke 10-19


            Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem has now begun.  He and his disciples are making their way to Jerusalem where Jesus will enter, on what we now celebrate as Palm Sunday.  Jesus’ entering into Jerusalem begins the most impactful event of Jesus’ life; His death and resurrection.  The vast majority of our focus as a church and society revolve around what happens during this week.  The cross represents both a call to repentance and an extension of unbelievable grace.  As our culture’s typical response, we usually focus on only one aspect at the expense of the other. 

There are those individuals, churches and denominations who tend to focus on the cross’s call to repentance.  They typically see the lack of remorse and minimization of sin within our culture and respond by emphasizing the evil of sin and the desperate need for everyone to seek forgiveness.  This is not a popular stance to take, so there is naturally push back from both people of faith as well as those who have no concern for God.  This push back comes in the form of accusations of judgementalism and bigotry.  The grace and love Jesus represented will be thrown back in the face of those who make a call to repentance.  This response only causes those focused more on repentance to double down and move even further away from the cross’s extension of grace.

On the other hand, there are those individuals, churches and denominations who have moved away from talking about sin and judgement.  Their focus becomes the love, forgiveness and grace Jesus expressed throughout his life and ultimately exemplified on the cross.  This message of a loving God who spreads his grace throughout the world is a wonderful message to share.  Most people will not push back against this message.  The danger of this extreme is that making people feel good and liking our message can become the goal, rather than sharing the truth of the Gospel message. 

The truth of the Gospel message and the message of the cross is both the need for repentance and the acceptance of unmerited grace.  As Jesus makes his journey to Jerusalem his teaching obviously reflects the true Gospel message. His teachings are not easy and at times are very confrontational.  If you read the Gospel of Luke from chapter 10 thru 19 honestly, you will surely be made uncomfortable.  Jesus’ teachings do not fit into our preferred nice cookie cutter message.

I challenge you to read through these chapters in Luke.  Let’s be honest, you have plenty of time on your hands.  Listen to what Jesus teaches.  His message is not easy and will not make everyone happy or feel good.  Jesus’ message acknowledges sin and evil in the world and at the same time offers love and forgiveness.  Jesus’ teaching show how he pursues us and desires for all to come to know him.  These teachings also address choosing our own way and not accepting the need for repentance.

As we Journey to Jerusalem together let’s not fall into the trap of believing or sharing the easy Gospel message.  The easy message takes only one aspect of the cross at the expense of the other.  This is very common in our culture today.  We are a society moving to the extremes and we are becoming more and more uncomfortable living in the middle.  The true Gospel message will leave you in tension.  Embrace the tension and beauty of a Gospel message teaching both unmerited grace and the importance of repentance.

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