Pentecost 23 – Friday Devotion

Readings:  Jeremiah 26:1-19, Revelation 13:1-18 and Matthew 26:20-35

Matthew 26: 30  And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Revelation 11:10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

 

“Endure to the End”

Imagine being with Jesus the night of His betrayal. The group of disciples had eaten their last supper with Jesus. Then they sang a hymn, likely one of the Psalms. The custom may have led them to sing Psalm 115 to Psalm 118. They then leave the room and make the short journey to the Mount of Olives.

Why do they go to the Garden? There are several reasons. One, because they have visited it regularly. Why? For prayer. It is a place that is away from the crowds and the daily routine. They go there to recharge.

They go to fulfill Scripture. It was here, after prayer, that Judas betrayed Jesus.  Then the guards arrested Jesus. Judas knew the place well, for often they would go there. Here Peter drew the sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. Jesus would heal that ear, plea for the release of His followers, and be led off under arrest.

What happens to the disciples, Jesus’ close followers? They scatter. Peter and another follower were in the courtyard of the High Priest during the trial. Even Peter, who boldly proclaims that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, denies Jesus and scatters. The sword pierced the heart of Jesus, and Peter, who was later restored.

Captive Jesus goes. The trial, the cross and the tomb all lay before Him. During His three day rest in the tomb, the followers gather together for protection and for prayer. They share their sorrow, especially how they felt let down and abandoned. They still didn’t understand what the Messiah was doing and that what they were enduring was foretold in Scripture.

Then, on the third day, the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection was proclaimed. The disciples needed to see for themselves. Some raced to the tomb. Others heard the words of those who witnessed the empty tomb. Yet others met Jesus on the road and recognized Him in the breaking of bread. By whatever means He revealed Himself to them the disciples believed in the resurrection.

But wait. Continue to endure. We, who tend to be impatient, have a difficult time with this. We want things done on our timetable but we need to wait for God’s timetable.

On Pentecost the waiting came to an end. The disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit and everyone heard them proclaim Jesus, God’s resurrected Son, in their own language.

Still, today  we wait. We may pray Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come. The time, however, has not yet come for His return. We show patience.  We endure as we hold fast to the truths of Jesus. Interesting: of all the prophecies proclaimed and all the promises God made in Christ Jesus there is only one that has not yet happened; Jesus returning as Judge of all mankind. 

If you had a friend who followed through with every promise they ever made to you except one, do you think you would trust that that one promise would, some day, happen? Of course we would. And so with Jesus. 

So, go off to a quiet place. Spend time there with God. Pray. Sing hymns, especially those of Scripture. And wait, patiently, as you endure these times with the certainty that Jesus is coming. He is coming soon. Amen!

 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, as You prepared for those final hours of Your life in this world You still made certain to fulfill the words of prophecy. Patiently You endured the suffering caused by our sin. As You rose from the dead and reign with Your heavenly Father, let us keep our eyes focused on You so we might endure, even to the time You give us the crown of everlasting life. Amen.