Mourning into Joy | Palm Sunday: Sovereign Mercy | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 2 of 10

Nothing demonstrates the compassionate omniscience of Christ as the minutes detailing His entrance into Jerusalem. Knowing everything is one thing, but choosing to have compassion over it, is something altogether wonderful and strange. Christ being truly God knew what lie ahead as He walked into Jerusalem. He knew that He will be rejected. He knew that He was going to be crucified by the same people who were cheering for Him. Yet He welcome it all. He healed them. He taught them. He did everything despite knowing quite well that His actions and His words were falling on blind and deft ears. He knew that the people who came to Him, came merely because they want to be healed and to be free from the Roman rule. They did not want Christ, they only wanted to use Him. And that is a disappointment that even I can attest and relate. I have walked out of many situations, relationships, and social arrangements where I have felt that I was merely being used. And if I, with my own limited knowledge could feel utterly bad for not being wanted for who I am (but only for my benefit), I cannot even begin to imagine how a sovereign God must’ve felt. But Christ’s disappointment was far greater than mine, because His concern wasn’t limited to personal rejection. The Apostles say, Christ wept over Jerusalem because they had rejected salvation itself. (Matt 23:37-39, Luke 19:41-44) Most of us would walk away, as I mentioned. But Christ, a Sovereign God – on whose will the world functions, neither abandoned nor annihilate those people – yet chose to have compassion. And that is quite a contradicting quality, but the beauty of Christ is that – He unites this all-powerful control with great compassion and mercy.

This Palm Sunday, I wish to focus on that – mercy, or more precisely – Sovereign Mercy. Because I don’t know about you dear reader, but I seem to need more and more. I don’t want to focus on what Christ can do for me. I want to focus on what He has done. Because I have always been selfish. I am no better than the people of Jerusalem who rejected Him. I have only come to Him when my health fails, or when my career is waning. I am quick to forget about the price He paid to satisfy the wrath of God – so that we can enjoy His mercy. I am quick to forget that He chose to die despite knowing well we would reject Him and continue to live in ways that dishonors Him. But my dear readers, if He can walk into Jerusalem. He can walk into our lives too. If He can make stones shout out His praises. (Lk 19:40) He can surely turn our stone-cold hearts into God-honoring flesh. (Eze 36:26, Heb 8:10) So, let us focus on His mercy this Sunday. And let us not forget how privilege we are, that we are protected in His love, compassion, and mercy. To God be the Glory.


Wishing you and your family, a very blessed Palm Sunday. Hopefully, you’ll be back tomorrow. And we’ll meet again. Until then, Shalom!


Series Index: (1) Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week

Peace, Love, & Joy | Salvation Unites Us | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 21 of 27 | December 20, 2019

YHWH adopted us through Christ into the family of God. (Eph 1:5) Changing, our whole heritage, and our heredity, we are no longer slave under the law of sin as “Children of Disobedience”. The adoption has granted us a new identity into a new family – one that is holy, and obedient to the Will of God. We are now co-heirs with Christ – we now belong to the Father of Eternal life – of righteousness, not sin.

Our adoption also means, new filial life. It means, we are one and equal with other regenerated elects of God. Therefore, Christ gave us the two commandments – love God, and love one another.

This season, if you are struggling with a certain sin. I want to encourage you – you have a family beyond the biological one. I want to encourage you – you have friends beyond the people who know your name, but don’t know your struggles. Because you have not been saved in isolation. You have been saved into the family of Christ. Pray, and reach out for this family. I also want to urge you, if you see fellow brethren struggling – reach out to them this season. Comfort them with the Father’s love. And encourage them with the Father’s words. No one has to be alone. Because we are united by the love of Christ. Let us remember the Apostle Paul’s words, “(I)… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:1-6, ESV)


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him (xix) December 18: Pass Me Not (xx) December 19: Overcoming the Power of Death

Peace, Love, & Joy | An Unlikely Route to Victory | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 17 of 27 | December 16, 2019

He makes tactical retreats in order to win strategic victories.” – John Piper (pg. 33)

Wouldn’t the forces of evil celebrate when Jesus broke breath on the cross? They certainly would have. But that is the thing with God, His ways are higher than our ways – and His way to victory is through apparent defeat. “What an unlikely route to victory” Piper exclaimed. (pg. 34) Indeed it is. And these ‘tactical retreats to strategic victories’ is more apparently seen in Joseph’s life. He was first, disowned by his family, second, sold as a slave, third, wrongly accused, fourth, locked in prison. Joseph’s life is nowhere near to our definition of blessed. But little did we know, Joseph’s misfortunes were ordained by our Sovereign God to raise him as an authoritative figure. God raised Joseph up (in Egypt) to deliver Israel through famine. What looked like a lost life, was a divinely ordained ‘tactical retreat to a strategic victory’.

Piper notes: “But that is God’s way — even for his Son. He emptied himself and took the form of a slave. Worse than a slave — a prisoner — and was executed.” (pg. 34) “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Php 2:9-10, ESV) But most importantly, this is also what God desires from us; that we suffer along with Him to Glory. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” (Rom 8:17, NLT)

Albert Barnes writes, “It does not mean that we suffer to the same extent that he did, but we may imitate him in the kind of our sufferings, and in the spirit with which they are borne; and thus show that we are united to him.”[1] In other words, suffering with Christ is not a matter of degree or likeness to what Christ suffered for us. It is also not about repaying our gratitude to Him. But suffering with Christ is a practical demonstration of our unity in Him – that we think like Him, and be like Him; that we are thinking like Him, and being like Him.

Suffering with Christ is not about seeking conflict with non-believers, or with people who believe differently than you. Suffering with Christ is about those setbacks in life that comes with seeking righteousness, and holiness. In other words, this suffering is about pursuing godliness in a godless world. This suffering is about seeking and serving Christ, the Church, and His Kingdom in a world that despises Christ, the Church, and His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul echoes these sentiments in his letter to Timothy. I suggest reading the entire second chapter of his second letter. But I’ll quote a few scriptures from it here, to paint a brief picture of what I am saying. And I quote: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus… Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead… as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal… Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2Timothy 2:3, 8-13, ESV)

But why are we talking about something so somber as suffering during Christmas? Because trouble never takes an appointment to visit us. And if, we are truly of Christ, we ought to be ever expecting of such suffering. (Jn 15:19) We celebrate the birth of Christ, because He comes to adopt us in His family. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal 4:4-5, ESV) And since, we are adopted, we become His. And since we are His, we are also bound to suffer for His cause. But the crux, and the matter of all these points I am making is to tell you this: Yes. If we are Christ’s, we are bound to suffer. But we shouldn’t fret. Because, this suffering in God’s way, is the unlikely route to victory. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1Peter 4:12-13, ESV)


[1] https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-8.html


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy”


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life

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