Thursday, Spiritual Awakening in Houston
In Luke 19, Jesus rode toward the city of Jerusalem. Crowds begin approaching the road, waving palm branches. The people around him cry out, “Hosanna!” The word means, “Save us!” The implications are clear: The people believed that Jesus was coming to deliver the city of Jerusalem from Roman rule. He had, after all, taught about the Kingdom of God—something entirely different than the violent, pagan culture heralded by the Caesar. This Jesus was special. He could heal; he could feed crowds; he could perform magical miracles. Surely this Kingdom of God would supplant the Roman reign.
Just short of the city gates, Jesus begins to weep. The Bible only tells us one other time that Jesus wept—when his friend, Lazarus, died. But at the sight of the city, the palm branches, the cries for salvation, he cannot hold it in. His emotion explodes from him, and he cries over the city.
But why? What was it that led Jesus to weep?
Luke 19:42-44 tells us: “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Jesus wept, for he knew that his people did not understand who he truly was. They believed him to promised political reform—free healthcare and food. He was demonstrating the heart of a person fully surrendered to the mission of God in this world. They believed he would use a sword to extinguish his enemies. They did not understand he planned to give his own life.
The Son of God wept because his city did not understand who he was.
Oh, that we would weep over Houston, for she does not understand who Jesus is, either.
To be sure, the churches are present. The preachers are on the airwaves. But there is so little spiritual awakening, so little power.
We have too often substituted a religious veneer for obedience to the Way. We have claimed to trust in Jesus, but we have leaned on our own methods. May we follow the example of Jesus. May we weep for our city, and then may we cry out to God for an awakening.
Lord, we confess our dependency on our human methodology. We confess that we often do not show the sharp contrast between the teaching of Jesus and the ways of our city. We want to see Houston awaken to You. Will you visit us in power? Will you bring a spiritual awakening? And will you use us, your people? We pray this, in the name of Jesus. Amen.