Thursday, March 2, 2017

Joy in Jerusalem

Of all the cities in the Bible, there is one mentioned more often than any other.

Jerusalem. It is referred to in the Bible over 800 times.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. 

At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 

Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem

It's a complex, complicated, and compelling city which is rich in its history of 5000 years.

And it's a joy and privilege to be here with some of our JV family right now, taking in the sights, sounds, smells and significance, especially as it relates to our faith in Jesus.

We had time in the Garden of Gethsemane today, contemplating the last hours of Jesus' life before he went to the cross.

As well as at the house of Pontius Pilate, where Jesus was tried and sentenced to death.

And where Peter denied him.

It's sobering to think that there was not one person who didn't fail Jesus in those last hours. He went to the cross alone, to die for the failures and sin of them, and for each of us.

This strikes me every time I'm here in Jerusalem.

I can't even begin to imagine the sick feeling Peter felt after he denied Christ those three times, just as he had predicted he would. Peter didn't know the end of the story when he fled from Jesus before he was led to the cross. He must've been sick with sorrow for what he'd done.

How thankful I am...TO KNOW THE END OF THE STORY!

It doesn't change the sobering feelings I felt today about my own failures and imperfections. But I'm SO thankful for my Savior who was not and IS NOT limited by mine or anyone else's sin or failures.

His faithfulness to go to the cross gave victory over those sins, and made a way for me and you to live with hope, cleansing, healing, life and freedom.

As we sang this morning in the place where Jesus was held just before going to the cross, "Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow."

Because of that truth, I can smile and live in joy and peace today. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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