Devotions

Pursuing Our Little Kingdoms

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Dear Jesus, on Tuesday, you taught us in the temple with the religious and the
pious. Deciding that we’d had enough of your challenges, we set our minds upon killing
you. Give us humble faith in you and your way. Save us from the “small story” of our
own little kingdoms which lead to death. – The Most Holy of Weeks

The passage for today is Luke 20. In it, Jesus tells the parable of the wicked tenants and is questioned in order to trap and arrest Him.

What Were the Chief Priests and Scribes Feeling?

The Chief Priests and Scribes felt outsmarted at their own game. They knew that Jesus was talking about them. They grew even angrier at what He was saying and that they couldn’t even argue with Him in front of the people much less arrest Him. I have met several people that have to be right all the time, and, I have a feeling that, the Chief Priests and Scribes were in a profession that attracted that kind of person. They tried to prove that they were not like the tenants by expressing their disbelief at what the tenants did. This is terribly ironic thinking of how they treated the prophets and will treat Christ himself. They understood that Jesus was using their own scripture against their beliefs. They were frustrated that they couldn’t arrest him themselves, so they sent others to try to catch Him. Their frustration is actually coming from His tearing down of their little kingdoms built on pride by being viewed as a greater authority than them. Anything that threats pride can cause fear, and fear can lead to lashing out in anger.

What were the Chief Priests and Scribes Deep Desires?

Their distorted deep desire was to impact others by taking control over or manipulating them. They were trying to manipulate Jesus into saying something they could arrest him because they missed the control that they had over the people before Jesus came. The Chief Priests and Scribes were looking for their position to satisfy their desire to be loved, to have a community, to have significance, to be honored, to be respected, and to be valued.

What Was Jesus Feeling?

Jesus was righteously angry at the Chief Priests and Scribes because they were trying to trap Him when He was offering them salvation. He called the Chief Priests and Scribes out on their hypocrisy. Their “Surely not!” was a perfect example of their blindness to their own sin. Jesus understood that they were trying to trap Him, but He was confident in His answers, knowing that they were true. Jesus saw in the Chief Priests and Scribes those who had succumbed to the temptation of the praise of man. He was protective of His disciples by warning them against this terrible example of leadership. Jesus reminded His disciples to pursue His kingdom and not their own like the Chief Priests and Scribes had.

What Were Jesus’ Deep Desires?

He wanted to love and pursue His people. Jesus desired to impact these people by saving them. He wanted to protect His disciples and those listening from the prison of hypocrisy.

What Were the Disciples Feeling?

I would imagine that Jesus’ Disciples were quite nervous at these interactions. Here were those they had grown up revering as leaders, people to emulate, and their new teacher was being super offensive toward these same leaders. I could imagine that I would be trying to sink into the floor at such a confrontation. The Disciples were probably overwhelmed because there was so much to process that Jesus was saying, going against either their former beliefs or their traditions. Their brain needed rewiring in order to understand what it actually meant to be righteous and to act rightly. They were learning the connection between humility and true righteousness. I bet these teachings made them rather confused and full of questions.

What Were the Disciples’ Deep Desires?

They probably wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves, the ministry of Jesus. I would guess that they desired to have an impact on the world. They may have even have thought of themselves as one day having the influence, honor, and respect given to the Chief Priests and Scribes until Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of God was not pursued through the praise of man.

Who Are You Most Like?

I must admit that my feelings and deep desires are more in line with the Chief Priests and Scribes. I am terribly attached to my little kingdom. My little kingdom is based on my position, materials, and relationships. It feels threatened when my deep desires, whose foundations are those things, are “attacked”. There are so many times that I am looking for the love/approval of others and building my little kingdom above the advancement of God’s Kingdom. When my little kingdom is threatened, I either become angry, depressed, or anxious. The actions stemming from these emotions are certainly not exemplary.

In teaching, I have had many times where my little kingdom is “attacked”. This is a good thing for my growth in Christ, but my ego always screams in frustration. I am especially terrible when I am accused of something that wasn’t my fault. Sometimes I engage in gossip to let out my frustration, certainly not the best way to handle it. There are other times where I say something during a situation that is hurtful instead of taking the wisdom of silence. If I were not so concerned in guarding my own little kingdom, I would have more time to be Jesus to people.

Who Do You Want To Be Most Like?

This may seem like an obvious answer, but it needs to be delved into. Do I really want to be like Jesus? Am I actually willing to give up the self-satisfied comfort of my own little kingdom to advance the only kingdom that matters? Lord, please change my heart to desire Your kingdom more than my own.

What are your thoughts? Who do you think that you are most like? How has your little kingdom been put above His kingdom? What have you learned about yourself when your little kingdom was attacked? 

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