A few days ago, riots broke out in my city. Two teenagers lost their lives, violence ensued in the streets, cars were set on fire and police officers were targeted. Investigations are ongoing to establish the facts surrounding the circumstances that led to their death. In the same week, walking my usual route to church, it looked like there were two young men exchanging something shiftily with their hoods up before parting ways. Following this, I noticed a shop that had recently expanded was now filled with several idols of another religion lined up at the window. On my short walk from home to the place where I gather with other Christians to worship the living God, my heart felt heavy at all I had seen and heard. Come, Lord Jesus.
Jesus came into the world to people who did not recognise Him, nor receive Him. He was betrayed, beaten, scorned, shamed, crucified. He came to seek and save the lost. We are like lost sheep without a shepherd. We all need the Good Shepherd. We all need Jesus. The rioter. The drug dealer. The police officer. The religious. The Christian. Every single person is in need of a Saviour because no one can save themselves from sin, death or God’s wrath. In his complete justice and mercy, He sends us His only Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life (John 3:16).
No one but Jesus provides the cure to the ‘cancer of the soul’ as someone recently described sin to me. Sin is what separates us from God in all His holiness, splendour and majesty. We are dead in sin without the Great Physician stepping in and redeeming, healing, and bringing new, everlasting life to His sick children. Jesus is faithful, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8). Let us never lose sight of our suffering Saviour, our Servant King, the Friend of sinners.
Before we come to know and trust Jesus, we are dead in sin. Only by His grace and power are we made spiritually alive and awakened to spiritual truth. Let us intercede for the people in our life and in our nation. Our world desperately needs us to witness with our very lives; not just in the words we say, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to be on our knees in prayers of intercession for our own spiritual slumber. Are we ready to follow Jesus wherever He calls? How can we possibly know unless we are in close, regular communion with Him, seeking Him daily and trusting Him? Is He our delight and joy? Does He consume our thoughts and affections?
Followers of Jesus are called to live a set apart life, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1). That does not mean we disengage from the people around us. It means we are seeking Christ’s will in all things and that we see and discern His truth in this evil age. It means we cry out and call out to God. A life lived to the glory of God will make us enemies of the world. We will look different and can expect hostility. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). However, in obedience to Jesus we will be a part of a fruitful harvest, seeing God’s mighty work as lost souls come to know their risen, rescuing Saviour.
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.