He Willingly Goes
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you knew what you needed to do but didn’t want to do it? Then you think about all the scenarios of how it could go wrong? In these times, at least for me, I unwillingly go into whatever it is I’m supposed to do. Usually, I agreed to do something previously; but now that the day has arrived, I’m just not feeling up to my obligation anymore. So, more often than not, I begrudgingly carry out my commitment.
In John 18:1-13, we read about the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. Not exactly inspirational reading at first glance. But after closer inspection, one fact that stands out to me the most is that despite the betrayal of Judas or the fact that He knows He’s facing taking on the sin of the world, Jesus willingly goes.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go” (John 18:8 ESV}.
Knowing how horrible the next few days would be, Jesus still willingly goes. What a beautiful reminder that Jesus loves us so much that He would lay His own life down so that we could be in community forever with Him!
A few verses later, in John 18:11,
So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Again, despite knowing what He’s walking to, Jesus willingly goes into the situation so that His Father’s will would be done! For me, this is a good reminder that my actions and words should glorify God. When I begrudgingly go to fulfill a commitment I made, does my attitude or the posture of my heart bring glory to God? Probably not.
2 Samuel 16:1-2 1When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine. 2The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the desert.”
Remember Ziba? He was Saul’s servant. David appointed him and his family to be servants of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. It isn’t clear if Mephibosheth was planning his own rebellion to restore Saul’s throne in the chaos, or if Ziba was conniving to take back over the property of Saul, but the result was that David’s young children and wives were provided animals to ride so that they could keep up. Ziba also provided food to nourish them all on the journey. What David could not prepare in the short notice and sudden flight, God provided from an unlikely source. We can know that when we are in the middle of calamity, God will still be faithful and can meet our needs.
All Israel was choosing sides out of their own personal interests. Will you side with the usurper or with the true King? The usurper promises position and power, but he cannot deliver. You will find true freedom with hardship if you follow the true King. Your service will be rewarded for he is just and genuinely appreciative.
Consider: Every day we are tempted to side with the enemy. He promises what he can never deliver. Follow the true King, even when it is difficult.
Salvation to the uttermost
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 8:31-34
It is pleasant to look back to Calvary’s hill, and to behold that bleeding form expiring on the tree; it is sweet, amazingly sweet, to pry with eyes of love between those thick olives, and hear the groanings of the Man who sweat great drops of blood. Sinner, if you ask me how Christ can save you, I tell you this—he can save you, because he did not save himself; he can save you, because he took your guilt and endured your punishment. There is no way of salvation apart from the satisfaction of divine justice. Either the sinner must die, or else someone must die for him. Sinner, Christ can save you, because, if you come to God by him, then he died for you. God has a debt against us, and he never remits that debt; he will have it paid. Christ pays it, and then the poor sinner goes free. And we are told another reason why he is able to save: not only because he died, but because he lives to make intercession for us. That Man who once died on the cross is alive; that Jesus who was buried in the tomb is alive. If you ask me what he is doing, I bid you listen. Listen, if you have ears! Did you not hear him, poor penitent sinner? Did you not hear his voice, sweeter than harpers playing on their harps? Did you not hear a charming voice? Listen! What did it say? “O my Father! Forgive…….!” Why, he mentioned your own name! “O my Father, forgive him; he knew not what he did. It is true he sinned against light, and knowledge, and warnings; sinned willfully and woefully; but, Father, forgive him!” Penitent, if you can listen, you will hear him praying for you. And that is why he is able to save.
For meditation: How often do you stop and think what Christ is doing for you right now, if you are a Christian (1 John 2:1)?
Beauty Lost and Restored
SCRIPTURE READING — PSALM 107:1-9
Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.
One way to understand the beauty that God created is to understand its opposite: the ugliness and sorrow of being separated from God. Because of our sin, this world is not the way it ought to be. Sin has brought hardship and ugliness into our lives and into this world, though God designed it all to be beautiful.
We know that God has restoration in mind because we don’t feel “at home” in a world broken because of sin. We are homesick for a world of peace and beauty. We are homesick to be with God. When we’re stuck in brokenness and facing the ugliness of this world of sin, we feel homesick for God’s world of goodness and beauty.
Psalm 107 points out the sorrow and longing of this homesickness. The world can feel like a wasteland, providing no place where people can rest, no place where they can settle and be at peace. But the Lord, whose “love endures forever,” offers redemption. The Lord hears his people cry out in their trouble caused by sin, and he delivers them from distress. God brings them to a place where they can settle and live in peace. “He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Ultimately we know that all of life’s goodness and beauty will be restored when Jesus comes again, and the new life he provides us even now gives us hope for eternity with God.
Lord, we feel homesick for you and for your peace when we struggle with the hurt and brokenness of this world. Bring us near to you, we pray. Amen.