When the crowd on the Mount of Olives shouted “Hosanna” to Jesus on Palm Sunday, they were calling on Him to enter Jerusalem as a warring Messiah to overthrow the hated Romans.
Jesus disappointed them.
Instead of overthrowing the Romans, He did exactly the opposite. Entering the Temple, He overturned the tables of the moneychangers. “It is written,” Jesus explained to the bewildered onlookers, “‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers” (Luke 19:46).
The crowd had called for a revival that would restore the kingdom of Israel and overturn the Romans. Jesus overturned the corrupt Jewish religious system instead.
These people didn’t get the kind of revival they wanted. Rather than a revival that would defeat their political enemies, Jesus brought them a spiritual revival that would deal with their own sins and their own corrupt leaders.
The disappointment of these folks was so profound that, in just a few days, they went from singing “Hosanna” to shouting “Crucify Him!”
Yikes. This should be terrifying to all of us, especially if we’ve not yet seen the kind of revival we were expecting or praying for. Just like for this Jerusalem crowd, our disappointments can result in anger toward God when He doesn’t do things our way.
As I wrote about in a previous blog, I’ve been praying that the Rude Awakening of 2020 will ultimately lead us to a Great Awakening – a massive spiritual revival that will transform our nation. But the aftermath of Palm Sunday in Luke 19 has given me second thoughts. Do we comprehend the ramifications of what we’re praying for?
You see, if revival comes to America, we might find ourselves disappointed. Instead of defeating our political opponents, God is likely to first deal with sin in our own lives and among our own Christian leaders.
Peter wrote about this very thing: “It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).
This is why the Romans weren’t Jesus’ main concern. He knew their mighty empire would one day collapse, but His more immediate focus was on cleansing His own people of their misguided religious idols.
In recent years, some of us having been praying that God will “drain the swamp” and expose corruption in Washington. While I think those prayers are going to be answered, we shouldn’t be surprised if He first exposes apathy and corruption within the church.
Pastors love to preach on the warnings and promises of Malachi’s passage on tithing (Malachi 3:8-12). But lately I’ve been thinking about an important prophetic teaching earlier in that same chapter:
Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord (Malachi 3:1-3).
It’s exciting to think about the Lord mightily coming to His church after we’ve been seeking Him. Yet the Palm Sunday story illustrates the scary possibility that we could miss His visit!
Immediately after the crowd’s celebration of Hosannas, it seems completely out of place when Jesus ends up weeping over Jerusalem. How could He be sorrowful on such a joyous occasion? He explained that, despite their passionate worship on the Mount of Olives, the Jewish people “did not know the time of [their] visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).
So sad. I surely don’t want to miss out on our coming visitation from the Lord, do you? However, that’s exactly what happened during Holy Week. They missed out because Jesus wasn’t the kind of Messiah they were looking for.
After reading Malachi’s account of what happens when the Messiah suddenly comes to His temple, we may want to reconsider whether we truly want the kind of revival God wants to bring us. Malachi asks, “Who can endure the day of his coming?” While televangelists often emphasize that God wants to come and bless us, Malachi warns that He will first come with refining fire and caustic soap!
Do you want the kind of revival God wants to give you? Are you willing to embrace the fire and soap He will bring? Will you rejoice as He overturns the tables of your comfortable Christian life?
If your answer to these questions is yes, the turmoil will be worth it all. Exciting days of awakening will be ahead.
I am ready to see God move. I don’t care how He does it, but I long to see some evidence that He is moving in The Church. There is so much contrast in the various churches, denominations and the messages are so mixed. It was amazing to me that churches all over the world closed their doors without a shot being fired within days of each other. I would have said that could have NEVER happened. So now it is a question of how many will survive following this “purging”. God’s ways are not our ways – but His ways are perfect refining the soul. I know in my spirit that something BIG is going to happen that will bring everyone to their knees and not in the way that I want or desire. I fear for our nation and what lies ahead. Severe testing is on the horizon that will separate the sheep from the goats. I almost don’t know how to pray for the future.
Yikes! I think you’re right! Beware what we are asking for! Yet, we seek Him! 😐
I have been angry at God. I listened to a lot of hype about the election and what God’s will was and ended up very disappointed. I felt deflated and let down and confused. Thank you so much for writing this. It helps to see where I may have gone wrong in my thinking.
I thought long and hard about your devotion, and I can honestly say that, while refinement may sometimes induce pain, it would be well worth it to see souls saved.
Excellent insight! Thank you!
One thing I find I keep coming back to is the recurring mention, or emphasis on 2 Chr 7:14. ” If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
But I often hear that mentioned with the emphasis on praying for God to heal the land. Or for revival, or both. But no one ever really talks about all the steps in this verse before the promise can be fulfilled. It starts with God’s house. “my people, called by my name”.
It means being humble, getting low, stop seeking our own ways and agendas and perogatives or priorities. Maybe even, in the coming to prayer, not coming with certain requests right away.
Because it says to seek His face. Not the answers we desire Him to give us. But to seek His face.
It also means turning from our wicked ways. No one ever preacehs on or emphasises that when I hear this verse quoted.
I don’t currently keep a blog but sometimes will post a long blog style post on FB and recently lamented how I know most revivals included great repentance and turning from sin before the miraculous events of those revivals, which we know them for, sprung out. But no one ever focuses on the kind of repentance and genuine remorse or grief over and confession of sin that took place for those revivals to break out.