Before It Rains
The road was like going to a deer lease way out in the Pan Handle of Texas—red dirt, ruts, stones, and washed out roadbeds. The difference was that this was western Kenya and we were a little east of Bungama in the middle of sugar cane and maize fields, not grazing land for cattle. We were finishing up our meal when Pastor Sammy rushed in and started to push, “We’ve got to get going. The rain is coming, and if it hits, we’re not going to get out of here!” I looked to the northeast and sure enough, a large bank of dark clouds was marching our way. It was the daily routine. About 4:30 every afternoon, beautiful sunshine became torrential rain and the roads became impassable.
In Israel the storms don’t roll in from the northeast but from the west, out over the Mediterranean. Every Jew knew this, and Jesus used their knowledge of the weather to warn the crowd that dark times lay ahead in Jerusalem.
He would be rejected by the religious leaders, turned over to the Romans, and nailed to a cross. But it wasn’t the anger of those who rejected Him that they needed to fear. It was the storms of divine judgment that would come upon all who choose not to turn from their sin and cast themselves upon God’s gracious forgiveness in Christ. It was a fatal mistake to be playing the religious role and not discern that Jesus would sweep away all the pretending.
“Then He said to the crowd, ‘Whenever you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘A thunderstorm is coming.’ And it’s so. And whenever the southwest wind begins to blow, you say, ‘It will be burning sun.’ And it’s so. Hypocrites, you can read the face of the earth and the sky, but you are not able to discern this time.’”
The crowd had eaten the bread that Jesus’ had miraculously multiplied. They had seen Him set the demon possessed free, strengthen crippled legs, and give sight to the blind. Again and again He gave them proof that He was the One who fit the clues to the Messiah given in their Scriptures, but many kept playing their cultural, religious role failing to discern that it was decision time.
LORD, the way of salvation through Your Son is still open. I have friends who are now living in the sunshine, thinking little about breaking Your commands and believing that they are the center of the universe. Move them to open their eyes and see the storm of Your judgment coming. Move them to seek shelter in the arms of Your Son.
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