Pray for your neighbors and your city

Posted Apr 9, 2022

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Daily Scripture

During Lent, we are using short videos to share a daily idea (linked to the gospel of Luke) on how to grow spiritually. Watch today’s video. Click here or on the image below:

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Note: We are reading the entire gospel of Luke in the GPS. Some day’s readings are longer than usual. We hope you’ll have an extra cup of coffee, or use your lunch break, and read Luke’s entire story of Jesus.

Jesus entered a city that broke his heart Luke 19:29-48

29 As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. 30 He said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘Its master needs it.’” 32 Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.

33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “Its master needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted Jesus onto it. 36 As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.

37 As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. 38 They said,

“Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”

39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”

40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”

41 As Jesus came to the city and observed it, he wept over it. 42 He said, “If only you knew on this of all days the things that lead to peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 The time will come when your enemies will build fortifications around you, encircle you, and attack you from all sides. 44 They will crush you completely, you and the people within you. They won’t leave one stone on top of another within you, because you didn’t recognize the time of your gracious visit from God.”

45 When Jesus entered the temple, he threw out those who were selling things there. 46 He said to them, “It’s written, My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a hideout for crooks” [Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11].

47 Jesus was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests, the legal experts, and the foremost leaders among the people were seeking to kill him. 48 However, they couldn’t find a way to do it because all the people were enthralled with what they heard.

Reflection Questions

Jesus' long journey (which began in Luke 9:51) ended as he entered Jerusalem. He very deliberately entered in a way that echoed history (cf. 1 Kings 1:32-39) and prophecy (Zechariah 9:9-10). His entry said he symbolically claimed kingship, but peacefully. He wept over the city, and his tears showed that he loved the city’s people. But he also wept because their heedless leaders did not love him.

  • The prophet Zechariah said a righteous king would ride on a donkey’s colt to offer peace and salvation to the people. How did Luke hint that Jesus pre-arranged his ride into Jerusalem to fulfill that prophecy (verses 31-34)? Who sang and praised Jesus (verses 37-39)? Who disliked his entrance into the holy city (verse 47)? Would you more likely have been with “the establishment” who didn’t want their orderly status quo upset, or with the upstart rabbi from Galilee?

Prayer

Loving Lord, when you were born, Jerusalem ignored the news. When you came to the city, it’s leaders still didn’t welcome you. Lord, I open my heart—I want to make room for you in my life always. Amen.


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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Brent Messick

Brent Messick

Brent Messick is retired now, but was formerly Church of the Resurrection’s Managing Executive Director of Operations.

Today's Scripture passage prepares us for Holy Week. We see a wide range of emotions in this passage, from rejoicing, to sadness, to anger. Jesus starts his journey into Jerusalem riding on a colt as the victorious king. The people are rejoicing that Jesus has come to liberate them. I imagine that most conquering kings would also be rejoicing with a sense of pride over their conquest. Yet here we read that Jesus wept. I believe that he is deeply saddened, because of the struggle between good and evil that is still happening in the city. Jesus has shown them the way to a life of love and peace, but many of the religious leaders and people refuse to accept his "way."

Then we read that Jesus gets upset when he sees an example of this evil as some religious leaders are taking advantage of the less fortunate people in the temple. The religious leaders are upcharging the poor as they purchase their animals to be sacrificed in the temple. So Jesus takes matters into his own hands and demonstrates his leadership to correct this social injustice. He overturns their tables and casts out the merchants.

As I read this Scripture passage, it makes me think of the parallels that are currently happening in Ukraine. Like many of us, I have been watching and reading with horror and sadness about the events happening in Ukraine. The atrocities being inflicted upon the people of Ukraine make me sad and angry. As the Ukrainians struggle to defend their homeland, this is clearly a battle between good and evil. Also like many of you, I have been praying for the Ukrainians and for the world leaders to demonstrate more leadership to correct this social injustice.

What would Jesus do? I don't pretend to know for sure, but I believe that he is deeply saddened by the struggle between good and evil happening in Ukraine. I also believe that good will prevail over evil and that the evil doers will be cast out and be held accountable for their actions. Meanwhile, we should continue to lift up our prayers for the Ukrainians and the world leaders.

During this Holy Week, we are reminded that Jesus is the truth, the life and the way. Let's do all we can to follow his "way" and help make this world a better example of God's kingdom.

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