Blessed be the name of our God.
Wisdom and power come from you.
Often in my prayers, I just sit there with nothing to say.
Like early this morning. I sit looking at the pear trees outside my window that has been transformed over the past two weeks from bare branches to a tree filled with white, fluffy blossoms. Three days ago, they changed again and now tiny, green shoots of leaves have been added to this white glory. I look at them in wonder. Every year, as the seasons change, I am amazed by God.
I think of the prayer in Daniel 2. You, Oh Lord, change the times and the season. And I think about the rest of the prayer. You raise kings and depose them. You give wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.
I think of what he has done leading to this day. I think about today, Good Friday, and the movie The Passion of The Christ. How he has raised one man to kingship in Hollywood. And how mightily he can use someone who wants to do a devotion. (Hey, some of us do a devotion of 20 minutes for our small groups. Others make $30 million films as their act of worship.) And I am filled with wonder at how God can use such opportunities.
There has not been a momentís silence since the movie hit the cinemas. All the major newspapers have articles every other day about it. Time, USNews, CNN, NBC and ABC have given so much publicity to Jesus. Teachers and students and my childrenís schoolmates are talking about it. My daughterís friend, who has in the past always tried to act like a cool atheist, asked me who St John, St Mark and St Matthew were. At 17, she does not know what the Gospels are. She was made curious by the ABC documentary on Jesus.
Everyone is curious and has something to say about the Passion. We all have our thoughts about it. Suddenly, we have all become film critics because after all, we have all read the book. Most Christians I know feel quite positive about the movie. Other people have picked on details of the film that do not match their theology. We can all become as nitpicking as Pharisees and Sadducees.
Rather than being the film critic, I decided keep my comments to only my family, electing instead to pray about how God can use this film. Everyone has been surprised by the effect this movie has had, not only in its long-lasting attendance, but in the discussion and debate surrounding it and Jesus. As Christians, we are not one bit surprised at Godís ability to do this.
I pray that millions of lives will be changed by The Passion. I praise God for making it possible. Can anything good come out of Hollywood? How wonderful that God can use a star of something like Lethal Weapon to spark something so powerfully for him. Let us pray that he can change those of us from a Mad Max to someone with the same drive for him. With God, everything is possible.
Oh, there is such a need for God today. The burdens of what is happening in the world around us, as well as the difficulty and challenge in each and every one of our lives today can be so overwhelming. I struggle myself. I honestly do not know how people who do not know the Lord make it. Let us pray that the film opens the eyes of non-believers and make them seek God.
As networks come out with interviews of people who challenge the truth of the Gospels, let us pray that it will drive people to find out for themselves. Let us ask the Lord to guide them to the right sources. Only those who are seriously seeking will find truth. I am reminded about why Jesus spoke in parables. It separates those who will understand the mystery and those who will hear but not understand. Let us ask the Lord for grace on all who seek. Wisdom comes from him alone.
This is a time when the goats are separated from the sheep. There will be some who will check with historical sources, the Word, and in prayer. But there are others too who prefer to read the Da Vinci Code and choose to see that as truth. The evil plan to throw doubt on Godís word is as much in todayís world as it was when the serpent distracted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Let us pray against Satanís schemes. Lord, have mercy on us.
Finally, I want to pray for believers that they have a renewed love for Jesus. I pray that whatever questions were raised in the movie, or in the interviews about the story of the Crucifixion that they lead them to a serious study of the Word. Let us praise God knowing that when we study his Word God gives revelation and convicts us of the presence of his Spirit and power. With revelation, I pray the Lord gives them boldness to speak and live for him.
I pray that in memory of the day Jesus died for us that we take time during this season to meditate and give thanks for his deep love for us and to praise this mighty God for what he has done for us through his Son.