Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Can Hardly Wait

Last night was the start of Passover. We celebrated with a Messianic Passover meal at Ebenezer Lutheran church. Passover is one of three festivals that God Himself instituted for His people and required all the males to go to Jerusalem to celebrate. I love the history of the celebration, dating back to over 3000 years. I also enjoy the picture of God's redemption and the Messianic symbolism in the service.

The meal ends with a Messianic expectation. You open the door in anticipation of Elijah to come as the forerunner of the Messiah, then you drink the fourth cup. As believers, we recognize that Elijah has already come in the person of John the Baptist. And Jesus the Messiah also has already come once to earth. We wait instead for Jesus the Messiah's second coming.

When Jesus celebrated His last Passover with His disciples, He said He would not drink the Passover wine again until He drank it anew with them in His kingdom. He had finished drinking the third cup (the cup of redemption), but did not drink the fourth cup (the cup of praise and completion). Jesus used the third cup to memorialize His work of redemption that He would carry out on the cross. The fourth cup however, He waits to drink with His people when He comes again.

How many of us are looking forward to that day? A.W. Tozer (here I go with another Tozer quote) suggested that the perception of Christ's return as a blessed hope was all but dead among most believers. He acknowledged that believers hold firmly to the doctrinal truth of Christ's return, but fail to see it truly as a blessed hope. He stated it like this:

"Mere acquaintance with correct doctrine is a poor substitute for Christ and familiarity with New Testament eschatology will never take the place of a love-inflamed desire to look on His face."

Isn't that last phrase great? "A love-inflamed desire to look on His face." I wonder if that phrase describes you and me. Are we longing to see the One we love? That's what was so special last night at the Passover meal. It caused me to reflect afresh on the fact that my Lord and Savior is coming again to celebrate with me and drink that final cup together with me.

I have to confess that I often get comfortable in this world and life I now live. If I'm honest with myself, my "love flame" needs to be fanned quite a bit. The Lord Jesus loved me so much that He endured horrendous ridicule, torture, and death; and I love Him so little in return.

I pray that as you reflect on Jesus, the Passover lamb, this season your love for Him grow into a flaming desire to look on His face one day. May this Passion Week not only be a time of reflecting on the past and His glorious work on the cross, but also one of rejoicing in the future and His glorious coming on the clouds.

"Lord Jesus, I confess that my love for you falls so terribly short of what you deserve. Forgive me, Jesus. Deepen my love for you. Fan my flame of love into a roaring fire that burns passionately and fervently for you. Deepen my longings for you so that my heart will find contentment in nothing else and no one else. Give me that love-inflamed desire to look upon your face and long for your appearing. Lord Jesus, until that glorious day when we will drink the cup of praise together face to face, use me for your glory. Amen"

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