The Rest of the Story…

Matthew 27

Think of a time when someone you thought highly of or ‘put on a pedestal’ let you down by doing something you never expected from them. For some of you this person may have been a celebrity, professional athlete, or politician who you thought was ‘really a great guy/lady.’ This person may have even been someone very close to like a boss, mentor, parent, sibling, spouse, or even a pastor where the wounds from this experience are still deep today, even years later.

Have you ever thought about how the disciples and followers of Jesus must have felt when He was arrested, scourged, crucified, and died? They believed Jesus would be their Messiah (Savior) by sitting on an earthly throne and restoring Israel through freeing them from the oppression of the Roman government. This was their mistaken understanding of the Old Testament prophecies of what the Messiah would do (see John 12:16). They must have been certain He would be king because He could do anything…heal the sick, cast out demons, feed large crowds on next to no food, walk on water, and even raise Lazarus from the dead after four days! Think of the ‘pedestal’ He must have been on in their minds!  Imagine how they must have felt when they woke up Saturday morning with the realization that their Messiah who they saw do many miracles and believed was on a mission from God on their behalf was crucified, dead, buried, and would not save them from the tyranny of the Roman government. Talk about a letdown!

As Paul Harvey (ask your parents if you don’t know who that is) would say, we now know “the rest of the story.” We know the great news of the Resurrection that occurred on Easter Sunday! We know that Jesus saved them, and us today, in a way no one else could through freedom from the bondage and condemnation of sin.

What can we learn from this?

  1. The only person we should ever ‘put on a pedestal’ is Jesus. He is the ONLY one that will NEVER let us down. He is the only one without sin.
  2.  If God can take the worst injustice and event in the history of the world, the wrongful execution of the only person to ever live without sin, and turn it into the greatest event in the history of the world, then God can take the challenges and problems you are facing in your life today and will in the future and turn them into something good. The Bible specifically tells us this in Romans 8:31-32.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Need more assurance? We are told this again in Ephesians 3:20 NIV.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according His power this is at work within us,”

It says that we can’t even imagine what good He can do! Also, did you catch that? It is not our power, but ‘His power’ at work within us….and he made the world and everything in it.

There is a “rest of your story” that He has planned for your life…just like there was for Him and us through His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

So let us move forward today calm, confident, and courageous because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Powerful Planning

August 2, 2016 

One of my favorite verses that I read today is Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Today’s ReadingJudges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

I’ve read, written, and quoted this verse many times to myself and to others. At first to me it was a reminder that God has a plan for all of us. In His plans, and according to His timing, we will be taken care of in both good and bad moments. These encouraging words can provide you with boundless hope you need to conquer any agenda, task, or adverse circumstances that at first may seem impossible. You can rest on the fact that God is with you the whole time. In our stress, pain, and hard times God has a glorious conclusion for us.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

These next two verses is a reminder about us calling upon Him. That the plans we want may not always be the plans He has set for us.  So in our minds when we’re asking, “Why did this happen?” submit to the plan God has given to you and find ways to bless others. This is a tough one for me to swallow since I spent most of my life to this point doing everything for me.  Self confession, its not about me its about God.

In researching various interpretations to Jeremiah 29:11 I’m sent back to Jeremiah 29:1 where you will see these verses were part of a letter Jeremiah wrote to surviving elders, prophets, priests, people who had been exiled.  This exile based on their disobedience lasted for 70 years.  Imagine the wait now.  In our instant gratification world its hard to wait 70 seconds let alone 70 years. It also is a heart check to see where our obedience is.  In today’s reading God has a plan for Samson and the Philistines, Paul and Eutychus, Nebuchadnezzer and all the exiles in Babylon,  Joseph of Arimathea, and us.  Jeremiah 29:11 can be a reminder.

These Israelites were sent to exile because of their idolatry.  Exodus 20:5 tells us that he is a jealous God and how we should only focus on Him.  – God is Just

Despite the fact of their sins and ours God gives us hope that he will take you out of your current situation when we call on Him and according to His time.  – God is full of Grace

Through history you can see all the promises our Lord has fulfilled. We can trust that God will follow through on the promises made to us. The promise that we can receive the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life.  – God keeps His Promises

So today…

  • Ask yourself, Do I continually seek Him?
  • How do I respond when God’s plans are not always the plans I desired?
  • Am I still being a blessing to others when His plans are not according to my timing?

Dear God,

You alone are our God. Please help us to focus on this throughout our days. You go before us and have divine plans set for us. Equip us to continually bless others in the midst of this day you have set before us. Help us to grow closer and closer to you as we seek you continually. Allow our responses to be full of Grace just like you have given to us. Thank you God for this day, let us follow the plan you have set for us. Amen