“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. (Hosea 6:1-2)
Relate: Rabbi Ken Spino calls Herod the greatest builder in Jewish history. For forty years, he worked on the restoration and expansion of the Temple. He did so much on it, that the finished product has since gone by the name Herod’s Temple. Beyond that, Herod built the port city of Caesaria Maritima, the fortress of Herodium and an even more famous one at Masada which would soon become an integral part of Jewish history and lore. Outside of these major projects, there is an abundance of smaller projects in Jerusalem and other cities that were a result of his restless need to create monuments to himself.
The question I have here is, how was all this paid for? It was the same way as the Sistine Chapel, and Notre Dame, and the Blue Mosque were built. Herod’s restless frenzy of building projects were financed through a level of taxation that can be called nothing less than oppressive. Even worse, while he was taxing the poor right out of their homes, these same people were still responsible for their taxes to Rome. Caesar didn’t care what Herod did to his own people, as long as Rome got their cut.
React: It was into this mess that Jesus came. The longing and desire for a Messiah was as high in His day as it had ever been. The people were praying for a deliverer just as desperately as they had been in Egypt before God sent Moses to bring them out. The expectation for a soon coming Messiah was high. How high? The name “Yeshua” (Jesus) which means “God saves” is the most common name we have for Jewish men of this time. In his histories, Josephus records nineteen people with that name. Considering how each of these would have been significant or influential in some way, how much more common do you think the name was among the “nobody’s” and the marginalized?
Scripture says Jesus came to this earth “at just the right time”. One day, when the time again is just right, He will return. Until then, He calls us to come to Him. He calls us to follow Him. Jesus came to redeem this earth. He will come again to bring us into a recreated one. If God is able to fix a broken world, and fashion a perfect heaven, how much more is He able to redeem our broken heart? How simple would it be for Him to reclaim our wrecked lives? God has come to give us something so much greater than we could imagine. All He asks in return is that we come with our mess and lay it at His feet.
I come to You, God, with all of my mess. I don’t have much but what little I can scrape together, it is all Yours. This world has broken me down. Life and circumstances have sent me down a hard road. Far more, my own sin, mess, and mistakes have made a ruin of what You had planned for my life. But You are the Great Physician who is more than able to heal. You are the Architect who is ready to rebuild. You are the Author who will write a new story of my life. God, I come to You because You first, came to this earth… for me.