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Holy Wednesday

Holy Wednesday

Today is Holy Wednesday.  On this day, there is not a single recorded event in the life of the Lord Jesus.  He apparently spends today in Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem where he has been staying in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  Here he spends the day with his disciples and friends in quiet and solitude, preparing for the horrific events soon to come.

This is not the first time he stayed in the home of friends.  He lived in Capernaum for three years in the home of Peter and Andrew.  He also stayed in the home of Matthew, the notorious tax collector, where he ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other well-known sinners.  And Luke's Gospel tells us that he accepted the financial support of a group of women who helped him out of their own means.  After leaving his own home in Nazareth, he never had a home of his own again.  He went wherever he was invited and stayed anywhere he was welcome.

This is the pattern of Christianity from the first century to ours.  The faith began in Palestine, and spread across the Middle East.  From there it grew to Greece and eventually to Italy and Rome.  Missionaries took the gospel as far west as Spain and England, and as far east as India.

Then the center of gravity shifted across the Atlantic to the New World.  For centuries, North America was the most Christianized continent in the world, with the largest churches and the most missionaries.  Now the faith is moving again.  South Korea is one-third to one-half "born again" Christian; five of the ten largest churches on earth are in their country.  Last year, they sent more missionaries into the world than America did.

A worship movement is sweeping Australia.  A tribal movement is sweeping sub-Saharan Africa; in southern Nigeria today, 90% of the people gather for worship each Sunday.  As many as 100,000 people come to Christ every day in the People's Republic of China.  More than a million people have become Christians in Cuba over the last ten years.  A Pentecostal movement is sweeping Central and South America.  More Muslims than ever before are coming to Christ, many after seeing visions and dreams of Jesus.

Meanwhile, the Church is dying in Western Europe where it once was headquartered.  Four times as many Muslims go to mosque on Friday as Christians go to church on Sunday in Great Britain.  Less than one percent go to church each week in France.  The number of atheists and agnostics in America has quadrupled over the last 20 years.

The pattern is clear: God goes where he's welcome.  From the home of Peter and Andrew in Capernaum to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus on this Holy Wednesday, he goes anywhere people will make him their King.  Is he welcome in your home and your heart today?

 

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