Elections are over! The elation for some people is evident not because of the results but because the campaign signs are finally gone! It is a bit amusing how riled people can get over these signs acting as though it is an intrusion on their viewing pleasure or perhaps they perceive the volunteers are desecrating the beauty of nature by pounding signs into the ground on street corners and in yards across the country. Of course the most humorous “sign” scenes can be viewed at busy intersections which are ridiculously cluttered with dozens of the SAME signs. I guess if one sign is good, two are better, and ten is best! Seriously though, we must laugh at ourselves and our logic at times! Some of the comments on facebook or overheard in passing conversation made me smile a lot. People could hardly wait until elections were over, signs removed, and they didn’t need to see them anymore. The irony is we always have a choice to look or not to look so if the signs raised your blood pressure, don’t look!
But when all is said and done, at the end of their radical race to the desired result there was a method to their madness and a point to their purpose! I personally do not memorize every candidate’s specific views on every topic so when I vote I take my “information sheet” with me in order to keep things straight. There is one thing for certain time after time – When I get into the voting booth, look at the ballot sheet, and start coloring the ovals, I instantly and automatically “see” the street corner signs in my mind. Mission accomplished for the campaign parties! And honestly, the more signs there were, the more vivid the memory. How frustrating it is when I cannot remember “who” I want to vote for but can remember signs.
All of this made we think of the signs in our world which point to Jesus! We can see these signs everywhere IF we are looking. And just like people get worked up about political signs, people can get pretty riled up when God, His presence, and power are exclaimed on every street corner (figuratively speaking). Facebook comments and overheard conversations reveal irritation and consternation when faith in Jesus Christ is openly declared. And just as voters could just simply look away from signs which irritate, people could just look away from the signs which point to God and unfortunately many do! What do the signs say? Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Habakkuk 2:14 “But the time is coming when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Psalm 57:11 “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.” Psalm 104:24 “Oh Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions – ”
So the question is why does it bother people so much to hear Christians proclaim and declare His majesty? Probably for the same reason people despise signs all over yards and street corners. It messes with what they want to hear and see! You might have heard it said there is enough evidence of God’s existence in creation for those who want to believe; there will never be enough evidence for those who do not want to believe. Unfortunately, those who do not want to believe have no problem voicing their opinion, but those who want to believe are often silent. Which reminds me of an interesting yet at times heart-wrenching section of Scripture (Luke 19:28-48) known as the “Triumphal Entry”.
Jesus sends two of His disciples ahead and directs them to a village where they will find a colt tied up which had never been ridden. He told them to bring it to Him and if anyone asked what they were doing they were to reply, “Because the Lord has need of it.” The disciples did as they were told and sure enough, the owners of the colt asked what they were doing and they replied “The Lord has need of him.” Isn’t this an interesting scenario? The owners let someone “take” their colt simply because the Lord had need of him. Look what obedience does for us! Are we as Christians willing to give things up because the Lord has need of them? Back to the story….
These two disciples brought the colt to Jesus, threw their own clothes on its back, and lifted Him up onto it. He was the first and probably last One to ride this colt! The rest of the disciples then spread their clothes on the road to honor Him as He rode along. When Jesus got close to the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of believers (His disciples) began to rejoice and praise God loudly for all the mighty works they had seen and were shouting “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Can you see and feel it? These followers had seen the signs posted everywhere and they could not contain their joy and support of this King. They were praising and rejoicing because they “saw” all the mighty works! If they had made campaign signs, perhaps they would have posted them all along the way much like political volunteers post dozens of signs at busy intersections today. Why do political campaign people put signs up today? Because they believe in the person they support. They are unashamed to give these candidates everything they have; time, energy, money, and their loyalty. Why did these disciples raise their voices loudly praising and rejoicing? Because they believed in the King who came in the name of the Lord and were unashamed to give Him everything they had; time, energy, clothing, praise, adoration, love, and loyalty. Do we do the same today? Back to the story….
Some of the religious leaders were in the crowd “not” participating in the praise and rejoicing, instead choosing to call out to Jesus “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” Interesting don’t you think? They clearly “separated” themselves from His other disciples. How sad! In other words, they had no intention of stooping to the level of these fanatics, or shouting with loud voices, or taking off their clothes so the colt could walk on something other than dirt. In essence, they thought they were “above” such behavior irritated by the people, and wanted Jesus to quiet their enthusiasm.
Is it any different today? In the political arena we see the irritation grow as elections draw closer and people clamor “ENOUGH! Take down the signs! Quit trying to “sell” your candidate to us! We don’t want you to pollute our street corners any longer! We want normalcy back!” And we see it in the Church among the “religious” people as they talk out in the parking lots “We are tired of the Jesus freaks! They should not be praising and rejoicing so loudly drawing attention to themselves! And what is this they do? Laying down their lives and possessions for Him? Are you serious? Do they think they are holier than us? Jesus, quiet your worshippers PLEASE!” Back to the story….
Jesus hears the loud shouts and praises from His disciples, but He also hears the uproar from the Pharisees and answers them. “I tell you that if these (disciples of Mine) should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” This is one of the most “telling” truths Jesus gives yet how seriously does the Church take it today? It is interesting that the political parties march on no matter how perturbed the naysayers are over the political signs. They are unmoved by anything or anyone, concerned only with “getting the word out” about their candidate because they are sold out for the one in whom they believe should run for office. Are we like Jesus’ disciples who refused to be silent, instead being loud and boisterous in their campaigning for Jesus? Are we concerned with getting the Word out about Jesus because we are sold out to Him knowing He loves all people? Or do we cower under the pressure of the naysayers who rebuke us, telling us to take down the signs and quiet down because faith is a personal issue? Can you hear the rocks crying out? Back to the story….
The Pharisees had no response! Jesus continued His journey and when He saw the city, He wept, looking over it and saying “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” I hope you can see and relate to this truth in our lives in Christ today? If we get caught up in things that irritate and perturb us we will likely miss the most important thing that makes for our peace just as complaining about political signs takes our focus off more important issues. If religious people are constantly clamoring for silence, desiring others to praise and rejoice in God quietly, wanting Jesus to “rebuke” His followers, they will forego a life of peace. What makes for our peace? Jesus does! John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” In John 16:33 Jesus tells us that in Him we have peace because He has overcome a world which brings tribulation. Isaiah 9:6 reveals Jesus is the Prince of Peace. If we are like the Pharisees, zealous to “not make a scene”, censuring fellow worshippers, we will not know Jesus, the One who makes for our peace. Instead, we will live a life of anxiety and unrest. Where is our focus? Back to the story….
Jesus continued by saying “For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” There is a time of visitation! Do you know the time? Will we sit up and take notice? Will we promptly obey Jesus when He tells us to “Go” and do or get something like the disciples had to get the colt? Will we promptly give things up in order to lift Jesus up, exalting Him as Lord just as the disciples gave up their clothes and set Him upon the colt? Will we surrender our possessions allowing them to be trampled underfoot in order to honor our King as these lovers of Jesus did with their clothing? Will we shout loudly to the King of Kings and praise Him because we have seen His mighty works as these people did? Will we revel in our time of visitation or miss it? Will Jesus weep over us because we did not know the time of our visitation or will He rejoice over us with singing? Do we see the signs? Or are we “fed up” with the signs and the times? Back to the story….
When Jesus pronounced this very devastating consequence to His people with tears, He went into the temple and drove out all those who were using His house to buy and sell instead of treasuring His Father’s house as one of prayer. He said “…you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” Can we see this happening in the house of God today? Or are we so certain we are doing right we have no concerns about using His house wrongly? Do we go to church for His purposes? Are we looking for His signs or do we just want the signs removed so we can be about our business as usual? Back to the story….
After Jesus drove out those who were doing wrong in His Father’s house, He continued to teach daily in the temple while the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him. How heart wrenching can this get? Those who should have known better chose wrongly! And not only did they attempt to silence Jesus and His disciples but sought to destroy Him. (v. 47) Lest we be deceived, this happens in the Church today as well. We water down the Gospel to make it “palpable” for all people. We change the Gospel message in order to be “nice”, avoiding truth in order to woo them to Jesus. But through it all Jesus continues to teach His people daily and appoints true leaders who will equip the people so that we do not miss our time of visitation. And all the while religious people will continue their attempt to silence and destroy Jesus and His message! And now …the rest of the story…
“…(the chief priests, scribes, and leaders of the people) were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.” (italics and emphasis mine). A blessed ending indeed! Beloved! It does not matter how hard people try to destroy Jesus or our faith in Him. It cannot be done IF we ALL are VERY attentive to HEAR Jesus! We should observe the signs rather than get irritated with them. When we step into the eternity, (the voter’s booth) we will be face to face with Jesus. Will we have made the right choice here on earth? Will we be in His house praying or doing something else? Did we get irritated by all the clamoring about Jesus? All the signage? All the campaigning? Or did we get on board during our visitation, during our journey here on earth, and loudly voice our support, loyalty, love, and service to the King? Did we rejoice and praise Him because we saw all the mighty works or did we keep silent and let the rocks cry out in our place?
The choice is ours! And it isn’t over yet! But we have no time to waste. The time is near and even at hand! What goes through your mind when you enter the booth? Do you see Jesus? Do you see the signs? Or do you just have a bunch of information in order to make your decision! There is a purpose for signs during election time. There is a purpose for signs of God during our lifetime. The question is – Are we looking and responding to the signs in praise and adoration or wanting them to go away and let us get back to the normalcy of our lives?