Summary: This sermon raises the question about what the Pharisees were doing when jesus passed by? And then consequently asks, what were we doing when Jesus came near to us!
I. (1) An old Jewish story tells of the reaction of a learned rabbi to the excited announcement by a member of his congregation: "The Messiah has come! He is in our city now!" "Really?," mused the rabbi. Going to the window, the rabbi looked out on the city and observed: "I see no difference!" You see, even when the Messiah has come, the difference must be seen in us!
(2) Several weeks ago I was reading Tommy Tenney’s book, "The God Chasers". Not that I agree with everything he says in the book, but certainly I like the thought of being a "God Chaser"! A God Chaser is someone who seeks after God. Seeks God’s face. Seeks God heart. Seeks a relationship. In Chapter two Tenny deals with the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, subtitled "Do We Even Know When He’s in Town?". I thought that was a critical question for us to ask ourselves. "Do we even know when Jesus is in town?"; Do we even know when he passes by us on the street; or in our churches? Here is an excerpt of what Tenny says:...
"On the day Jesus made what we call His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a little donkey, His path through the city probably lead Him right past the entrance to the temple of Herod. (Maybe) ... it disturbed their religious services inside the temple. I can hear them complaining, "What is going on? You’re disturbing the high priest! Don’t you know what we are doing? We are having a very important prayer service inside. Do you know what we are praying for? We are praying for the Messiah to come! And you have the audacity to have this noisy parade and disturb us?"
"They (those inside praying for the Messiah to come had) missed the hour of visitation. He was in town and they didn’t even know it." All to real though in Scripture was the fact that the priest weren’t in the temple praying. They were busy doing other things: selling; money changing; turmoil came to Jerusalem when the little parade hit the town, with everyone asking "Who is this?"...Asking because Jesus was in town and they didn’t even know it. How many times has Jesus been so close to us, maybe even with us sitting right in His lap, and yet we didn’t even know it? How many times has Jesus passed right by us, and yet we were too busy doing something else to pay attention?
Tenny’s discussion left me with this thought, "What were you doing when Jesus passed by?" Too busy being religious? Too busy being busy? Rev. Suzanne Steves spoke at the San Angelo District Celebration and she reminded us of a bumper sticker that has been around awhile, that reads "Jesus is coming - Look busy!" While we see the humor in that, meaning probably we haven’t been busy enough, what if we are so busy doing this and that, and that and this that we fail to even recognize that Jesus has passed down our very street. And like the ancient rabbi, "what if we can see no difference?"
II. The question of today remains for us: "What were you doing when Jesus passed by?" Do we see Him? Do we hear Him? Do we see Him in the everday, in the ordinary, that God in Jesus is with us? Or are we too busy to pay attention? And what if He has passed right down our street, and yet when the parade and celebration of Easter is over our live are no different, and so have we really seen Him at all?
Here are the chief priest of the temple, the ones who are suppossed to be able to interperet what God is doing, and they didn’t even know the Messiah was on their street. Then Jesus over turns the money changers and the chief priests and scribes are more upset about the fact that Jesus healed the blind and lame, and the people are now shouting "Hosanna to the Son of God"... Isn’t that what happens, Jesus heals somebody and we have to get to the bottom of this!
Jesus comes right down our street bringing the winds of salvation and revival, and we don’t even know it because we are too busy being mad; or sad; or critical...Don’t believe me?, just check yourself the next time something new is introduced in Church. I did a healing service in Cotulla once during the morning worship hour and I heard a women lean over to another woman and she said it loud enough for me and others to hear, "This must be something new he learned in school!" The healing presence of Jesus was right on her street and she was too busy.