Today’s Readings: Judges 7-8; Luke 22
We live our lives, plan for our future, hope for peace, and pray for health and safety of our friends and family. We want to know everything will be ok, and that we will be able to manage life’s events. We plan for certainty and by nature we yearn for self-preservation.
It doesn’t always work out that way.
Today we read Luke 22, which starts off with the “Plot to Kill Jesus.” Jesus had twelve disciples who followed Him throughout the nearly three years of His ministry on Earth. Their names were, according to Matthew 10:2-3, “Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother. Phillip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Jesus.”
These twelve men put aside their lives, left their families, and followed Jesus and His ministry for three years of travel, strife, and insecurity. During the time of Jesus’ life, the Jewish people had their own governance called the Sanhedrin, but they were under Roman law. The Jews were persecuted and not able to control their people’s lives and resented Roman rule.
What seems likely is that the disciples thought Jesus would overthrow Roman authority and become the “King of the Jews,” and rule over the Romans. The disciples and followers were not focused on Jesus’ role toward eternity but what He could do for them on Earth. Jesus would become king and their daily lives on Earth would become better. They traveled, toiled, endured criticism and danger from the Jewish elite with the great hope that Jesus was their Earthly salvation.
Luke 22 walks us through Jesus telling His disciples that He was going to die, and one of them (the disciples), is His betrayer when He said in verse 21, “But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me at this table.” This was not a part of the plan the disciples thought they “signed up” for.
That very night, Jesus was arrested, and He would be tried, convicted, and put to death in 24 hours. The twelve men that devoted three years of their lives now had no leader. The “person” they put their lives and faith into just “died.” What they planned and hoped for did not come true. The “person” they committed every as aspect of their lives to was “gone.”
How does this relate to the trials and twists of our lives? Do we have great hope to stay healthy? Do we have great hope that our kids will make great decisions, thrive, and be happy? Do we expect to lose our jobs or struggle with life events?
The Bible teaches us that with our faith in Christ, there is no promise of a life without trials, turmoil, and unfortunately uncertainty. The disciples endured three days of suffering, pain, and likely deep sorrow that their Savior was “gone.” They soon learned that Jesus was alive when He rose from the tomb and appeared to numerous eyewitnesses to prove that He was the Son of God and was alive.
The disciple’s faith was likely restored but now their lives would be even more challenging and different. What they likely planned for in their mind dramatically changed. Their job now was to spread the Gospel of Christianity around the world and risk even more danger, criticism, and uncertainty, and eventually their own death. The plan they hoped for dramatically changed.
We as Christians must have a keen focus on the purpose of our lives. Our purpose is to bring glory to God, His Son Jesus, and bring others to Christ. Our faith and resolve, to stay the course and commit to Christ during the worst of times, is when we make our mark. Our resolve, strength, and assurance to follow Christ, even when it seems impossible to do so, strengthens our love and relationship with Christ. The impossible becomes reasonable with our faith Jesus no matter how much “our plans change.”
May we have the resolve of the prophets and disciples before us to “stay the course” when it seems impossible to do so.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!