Thousands gathered to show their devotion to the Black Nazarene in Metro Manila, Philippines every January. Everything around adjusts from traffic to business establishments, to the regular daily routines of every Juan in this nation. It’s all over the TV. Massive security and medical assistances are being provided. All money, energy, effort, giving of heart go out to this one black dead statue of Jesus.
My heart is grieved every time this day of the year comes. And I am thinking if Jesus was here on earth in His body during this feast, He would be very angry at everyone who joined, at the feast itself and all everyone behind this…
When we look at the Bible, there was only one incident where He got a little intense.
Matthew 21:12-13 (AMP)
And Jesus went into the temple (whole temple enclosure) and drove out all who bought and sold in the sacred place, and He turned over the four-footed tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who sold doves. He said to them, The Scripture says, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.
This is the passage where it’s often referred as He got angry.
Because people got busy with the affairs outside the temple than communing with God inside the temple. The outer court turned into a market place. And instead of people going straight to the inner court to meet His presence, they are being interrupted by the entices outside the temple.
AND IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, THIS IS THE VERY SAME ESSENCE THE FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE IS DOING IN THIS NATION. It is taking away the hearts of millions of His Filipino Bride to have faith in the “miracles” of an idol than trusting Jesus directly. It is stealing people’s devotion from the One True God. It is a market place in the outer court that Jesus would have drove out and turned over if He was here on earth!
Yes, He would be angry at the 300,000 present at the procession. He would be angry at the church supporting this… Not because He hates them but because He loves them. He desires that everyone would have a relationship with The Lord instead of being swayed away from Him. He longs for us to know Him personally.
But you know what, it’s easy to point fingers at everyone at the Feast of the Black Nazarene. It’s easy to pray that they will know the truth and be saved. But you know what’s hard to accept? It is the realization that WE TOO (CHRISTIANS) have a market place outside the inner courts of our hearts. And they are in the forms of work, relationships, personal dream, love for family… that we all sometimes pursue more than our personal relationship with Jesus. Sometimes even the ministry and mission works include. They steal our focus in being inside that closet where His presence is.
We all our guilty. Thus, it is my prayer that we all will come to repentance and devote ourselves this 2014 for more of the reality of Jesus in our lives. Not through idols, religions or good works. But seek the pure joy and intimacy found in the bosoms of having the fellowship with the King alone.
(Photo through Google Search, credits to the owners)