“I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy, and cleanse them so that they may be my people and I may be their God.” When we look and study all the moments of the life of Jesus, we realize that the Lord does not introduce anything new in terms of human experiences but rather elevates and imbues tremendous meaning and purpose into them. When evil and the demons of our lives approach, we realize first-hand that we truly need faith in the one who can handle and defeat them. These present themselves as conflicts which call us to make choices:
Conflicts: Every last one of us must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from with us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we are going to do with them.
Choices: When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, it necessarily involves the fundamental option whether to accept him or to reject him; and the world is always divided into those who have accepted Christ and those who have not. Everyone makes choices every day. This choice, however, affects eternity and forever is a very, very long time.
A Cross: The original audience of Jesus experienced tremendous suffering and loss. They knew very well what a cross was. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions the swift and cruel action of Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman General under the Emperor Augustus who crushed a revolt in Judea in 4 BC. After occupying Jerusalem, he crucified two thousand Jewish rebels and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee. This is why Jesus had and has tremendous compassion for His people, then and now: “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.”
Our daily dose of the Word leads us to understand and fully engage the conflicts, choices and crosses in our lives. When we are worried, it is because we are trying to do things ourselves. When we are at peace it is because we remember that God is in control. “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.”