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“Developing a Jesus Heart”

Developing a Jesus Heart

This past Sunday we saw the “heart” of Jesus on display as he looked out over Jerusalem, weeping and mourning and lamenting over the holy city: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how I would have gathered your children like a hen gathers her brood, and you were not willing!” He was in pain over the people’s refusal to walk with their God. This week we will hear him call on people to “repent,” which is simply an invitation to turn to and walk with God by faith.

I’ve been here for a month and one of my observations is this: There are a lot of cars with a lot of people driving past Resurrection Lutheran Church every single day. Some of these people are heading to work; others are going to school; still others are driving to the hospital and out to eat and, perhaps, to their church. But a lot of those cars and those people who drive past us every-day are heading away from God…in their hearts…in their minds…in their lives. Jesus wept for the people of Jerusalem who not only wandered away from God, but murdered those he sent to call them to repentance! He mourned over what was going on in their lives. He lamented how they were walking away even as he, the Son of God, was drawing near. And, of course, he did more than just cry: He sacrificed himself upon the cross for their forgiveness as much as for ours.

Toward the end of Sunday’s message, I laid out a challenge to “empty out Hell today for the sake of filling up heaven tomorrow.” Yes, I know – you or I won’t get people into heaven; that’s the work of the Spirit, but the Spirit does work in and through us (and even despite us) to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. He willingly and readily does His part; but do we do ours?

Now through Holy Week, I want to challenge everyone to identify one of the people in their “spheres of influence” – a friend, a neighbor, an acquaintance, a co-worker or fellow student, maybe even a family member – who does not know Christ and who has walked away from God in their life. I want you to begin to pray for them. I want you to hurt for them. I want you to remember that if that person were to die tonight without faith in Jesus Christ, they’re going to wake up tomorrow morning in Hell. I am asking you to pray for a heart like Jesus – a “Jesus Heart” – that develops a burden for the people around you…people for whom Jesus died just like he died for you and me.