Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Saviour for All

It is Easter Sunday : and Cleopas has lost his faith.

He had travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover….which was a time when Jewish people are reminded of their liberation from Egypt!
And Cleopas had heard of Jesus – who he believed was the Messiah. He hoped that Jesus would use this moment to stir up the people to throw the Romans out. And the weekend had begun so well:
+ Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey in fulfillment of prophecy: The crowds recognized it and cheered him on.
+ Jesus entering the temple and challenging the religious rulers about the way they compromised with the Roman oppressors.
He had hoped for so much from Jesus.
Listen to him:………..
Luk 24:19 Jesus…was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified.And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free!

Here is a disillusioned man. Jesus had been arrested, tried and executed. And now he walks back home from the Passover – a cynic. We can hear him saying to himself: “I trusted Jesus – and he let me down. I am sorry that I ever believed in him”

There are many today in the same place. These are people who go through religious experiences: They fervently say their prayers, go to church, go through confirmation/baptism; and then they are disappointed and abandon it all. And like Cleopas end up saying that this is all nonsense.

Cleopas was disillusioned. But there were things about Jesus that Cleopas did not know. And this “not knowing” limited his experience of Jesus. Ceopas believed that Jesus was a Jewish Messiah who had come to throw out the Romans and extablish a Jewish Kingdom. But Jesus was way more than this: Jesus never came to save one group of people. He came for the whole world. He was a messiah to the Jewish people in Jerusalem, but also to the Greeks, and the Romans, and the Medes and the Persians, and the Babylonian – and every other nation on earth.
• the words of Jesus when he goes into the temple on Palm Sunday?
He quotes from Isaiah 56:7 “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations” The anger of Jesus was that there were people who were being prevented from worshipping God:
• the words of Jesus when he hung on the cross?
“Father forgive them”...Not Father forgive some and punish others!

Cleopas needed to discover a Messiah who was not just for him. And just like Cleopas, we too become disappointed when Jesus does not do things for me. It is easy to treat Jesus like my private possession. But Jesus is not “my” best friend. He is my Savior – and the Savior of everyone too.

And so the invitation: To discover that Jesus loves people from outside of “my group”. Jesus loves people who are like me, and people who are not like me – and even people who I do not like.

Check the following picture. It was designed to get us thinking. And in Seattle stirred up so much debate that the shopping malls refused to allow this to be displayed in poster form.

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