The Rock of Ages!

Jesus was a peace-loving Rabbi. He pursued peace and called us to be peacemakers, going so far as to say that peacemakers will be known as the children of God. BUT Jesus often ROCKED the world in which He lived. He was a peace-disruptor too (especially when “peace” is fake). Whether it was disrupting the personal plans of His followers, overthrowing the powers of darkness, or insulting the religious leaders of His day, Jesus often rocked the boat.
Why then should we expect a perfectly comfortable, predictable, or problem free life as followers of Jesus? Maybe Jesus needs to shake you up a bit. Maybe it’s time for Him to “rock your boat.” Are you willing? Are you ready? A spiritual shake up is what I would call a revival. And do we ever need a revival. Without it, the church in Canada and the nation itself will continue to sink further into chaos, conflict, and darkness.
Jesus shook Jerusalem in Mark 11 (verses 1-11) by arriving as the long-awaited Messiah King of Israel. The morning headlines could have easily read: A New King ROCKS Jerusalem! Both the religious leaders and the oppressive Romans, in cahoots with one another, were jostled on that first Palm Sunday. I often pray, by the way, that God’s people around the world would rock their towns and cities by presenting the King to the masses of lost people.
Jesus also shook up the disciples in Mark 11 by His one and only judgment miracle in the New Testament. He “cursed” a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26). As is often the case with God’s curses or His promises, there are multiple applications for what He says. In this case, Jesus was aiming His judgment at a nation that was officially rejecting Him. But He intends the image to be a warning to us all. If we reject Him and/or disconnect from Him, we will be as fruitless as that cursed fig tree. There are plenty of warnings to Christians about the danger of barrenness. John 15 is one such case. Jesus says that the branch that does not bear fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire, because “without Him we can do nothing.” That should shake you from your self-sufficient, “I am my own man/woman” attitude! The Christian life can only be lived in absolute dependence.
Jesus shook the Temple by purging it upon His arrival during His last Passover. He drove out the “money changers.” He overturned tables and He knocked over chairs. He blocked the court of the Gentiles so that people could not sell their wares through the Temple. He rocked the Temple so completely that people didn’t know what hit them. When the dust settled, the people were listening in astonishment to His teaching. As a result, the Chief Priests were seeking a way to destroy Him. You can be sure that a shake-up will enrage those in power who have defiled “the temple.”
Jesus will shake this world to its foundation one day. He said so in Mark 13:
7 But when you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
The only way to survive the coming shake-up of the world predicted long ago by the prophets of God and Jesus Himself is to make sure that you are standing on the Rock of Ages. When the world begins to rock and roll under the weight of God’s judgment, you will remain “steadfast, unmovable and always abounding” because your feet are firmly planted in faith on the Solid Rock.
Standing on the Rock with you church family,

Pastor Deric


I was studying the meaning of the word “hosanna” recently and was immediately struck by the reality that it could easily be a synonym for HOPE. Literally it means “save, I pray.”  It can also be translated by the word “help.”  We wait for the Lord to help us and to save us from a myriad of dangers in the world.  The word appears only once in the Old Testament, but its appearance makes a giant splash.  I promise that if you read the chapter in which it appears, you will get a good dose of HOPE tattooed on your heart.  Of course, you have to combine the reading (hearing) of God’s Word with faith.
I was so taken with this chapter that I re-arranged my day to include a few hours of reflecting on its meaning.  It’s a solid chapter and should be a favourite with every Christian because it is so closely linked to Jesus in the New Testament.  More about that in a moment.
But before I go there, let me just highlight a few of the other words or phrases that explode with HOPE in the chapter.  Here is a sample:

5      Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.

   The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

   The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

   It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

9      It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

13     I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.

17     I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

18    The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death.
Now back to the connection with Jesus.  This chapter is one of the prophetic references that worshippers used on the day that Jesus marched triumphantly into Jerusalem declaring His Messianic right to assume the Throne of King David.  This is the chapter that refers to Jesus as the “stone that the builders rejected, that has become the chief cornerstone.”  The Psalmist declares that “this is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” and that “this is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  What day is it?  It’s the day that Jesus fully and finally asserted His right to reign and His power to save “all who come to Him by faith.
What a great worship gathering it turned out to be. The people sang “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest.”  (Mark 11)  The exuberant congregation joined in with words from Psalm 118 and Zechariah 9 being fulfilled before their very eyes.
Jesus has arrived to save His people, but not from Roman oppression, as they assumed.  He came to “seek and to save” lost humanity by offering Himself as the ultimate sacrifice that would atone for the sins of the world.  The human race was buried in the grave of their own spiritual death but He came to give hope by offering eternal life to all who “call on the name of the Lord.”  The Lord Jesus Christ is our hope. (See 1 Timothy 1:1)  
Stay strong in this hope church family.  God willing, I look forward to studying Mark 11:1-11 with you this coming Sunday morning.  You might want to read Psalm 118, Zechariah 9, along with Mark 11 in preparation.  See you either in person or online.


Pastor Deric