Daily Reflections · Priest's Perspective

18 November 2021 Luke 19:41-44

Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus.

 41As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it 42and said, “If only you had known on this day what would bring you peace! But now it is hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you when your enemies will barricade you and surround you and hem you in on every side. 44They will level you to the ground—you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

How different life would be if we recognised God’s presence, His plan, His purpose in every given circumstance.

This text clearly tells us that recognising the real presence of Jesus is what will bring us peace.

In my Jerusalem (my life) I eagerly await the coming of the King of Kings in majesty and glory. I have set up Pharisaic laws for my own life. Well intended principles /morals which govern my actions and my expectations of others. Like a Sadducee I do a lot in my own strength and will, and in collusion with the world. Like a Scribe I have interpreted the scriptures to suit my plans and my will. My Jerusalem is waiting for a Saviour, but slow to recognise him in places that I do expect Him to be: Bethlehem ( the things I count as insignificant) and Galilee( the things I count as peripheral) and riding on a donkey ( in humility) and journeying towards the cross – the cross of giving his life for others.

As a disciple I have hung on Jesus every word and still normally been slow to understand. And I see my Saviour weeping over a Jerusalem that has failed to care for his earth, uphold the cause of the widow and orphan and show mercy. A world of doctrinal arguments and filled with personal preferences and individualism. A World that doesn’t recognise Jesus.

And I weep!

Today as I face the challenges of our Diocesan Church and lead people in the broken state of our situation, I feel like the walls have indeed been broken down, I feel barricaded by the enemy of the financial context and social context of our time, and it feels like no stone is left on another. I have meetings with the Bishop and the Archdeaconry council to address the issues of the Organised Church today. That complex thing that provides buildings and clergy and structure to be church. Sometimes its hard to see Jesus – even in the Church. But my blindness does not make him absent and so I walk by faith and not by sight. Where I can’t see Jesus at work in people’s lives where I can’t see the Christlike attributes at work, I ask for healing, Lord I want to see.

In this Gospel text Jesus is clearly saying to us that we need to recognise Him. The destruction around us, the violence, the corruption, Global warming, human trafficking, drugs and the breakdown of the family structure are all because we are not recognising Christ in the world today.

The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes of Jesus time, all had this in common, they were exclusionary. It does not help us to say – that I personally recognise the presence of Christ in my world and that I personally worship him and therefore my Jerusalem walls should stand.     Just as Jesus took on the sin of the world and received a sinners Baptism and then endured Crucifixion, we have to acknowledge where we as a people are not just where we as,  an individual. We must weep for the lost and reach out to them, in love and with mercy and a hunger for Justice. But we cannot simply be indignant. We cannot simply complain about injustice and poverty and unrighteousness. We cannot simply elevate ourselves above the situation and put ourselves in the right, criticising others. Every time we expect someone else to do something to change the situation, we are failing to recognise Christ. “Someone should do something because someone has failed me” is not a righteous way of thinking – that’s a self-righteous way of thinking.

If Jesus came not to judge and condemn but to save, then only when we are doing the same are we recognising Him. Its easy to point out anybody’s faults and short comings – everyday I disappoint and hurt and fail enough people to be reminded that our sins are ever before us. But recognising Christ is when we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, when we approach situations with humility and a servant heart. This is no easy task and is not called carrying our cross for nothing. If we are defending ourselves, our dignity and our demands, our sense of right and wrong  – then we are not recognising Christ. Time and time again Jesus stood with the sinner and said “ I came to show you God’s love. For the Pharisee and The Sadducee Jesus stood with the sinner and said – “I’m changing your point of view – by standing with the broken I am getting you to see me in them and with them.” Jesus is where the brokenness is, He didn’t eat with the sinner to pronounce judgement on the pharisee but to change the Pharisees perspective, and pronounce absolution on the sinner. When Jesus went to the Pharisees house and there were sinners there he said – “I am in the world recognise me there” – in reality; not in the abstract not in the rules and regulations but in the lame and the leper and the blind, and in setting them free. Jesus changed the way we see things, when we read His word we are to find Him, when we see the sinner we are to see Jesus in them, at work bringing light and healing.

And we are to give ourselves to loving the world back to God. Being reconciled to bring reconciliation.

Weep with Jesus today for your Jerusalem for blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. ( Matt 5:4)

let us pray

Open my eyes Lord I want to see Jesus. I want to recognise you at work in my life and I want to do today only what is of you. Give me sight oh Lord that I may build my life in you. Fill us with love that all the world may see you, and turn to you and proclaim you as King.  Amen.

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