1999-04-22 - Tempis FugitThe setting is the Thursday of Easter week. Jesus is less than 24 hours from the beginning of his arrest and trial.
Luke 21:37-38 Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. 38 And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him. (NAS)
This describes Jesus' schedule on the Thursday of His last week before His crucifixion. It may also be a reference to the days before that as well. He was up with the chickens to meet the people and teach. And He was there until long after sundown, still teaching. He came to teach us about the love of the Father, and Jesus spent His energy in that pursuit at every turn. Even His times alone taught us that if the Lord needed time alone, so do we. He taught by word and action.
His patience is shown throughout the Gospels. With Peter, we see such compassion and patience from the Lord. Patience with John and James' fiery dispositions. The great mercy of the Master is evident in His words to the woman caught in adultery. "Then neither do I [who has the authority and the power] condemn you." And He says that to each of us as well. We see Jesus' love as He touched the leper, going against 'the rules', and healing this man who had just enough hope left to ask. We see all these facets of Jesus, over and over again. And they are there, tucked into this brief passage.
But there is one thing that I had missed here, which my Pastor pointed out. I miss it too often. It is the urgency of Jesus. By this time tomorrow, Jesus will have fought the Battle of the Ages. He will have taken on your sins and mine, along with the sins of the whole world from Adam to the last human being. Those sins will be borne upon Himself to pay the price deserved...in our stead. He will face that first moment in eternity separated from the Father as the Father must turn His back on Jesus as He, who knew no sin, becomes sin for us all. In the face of all this, I think I would be searching out a quiet place to prepare and to rest. Not Jesus, the urgency drives Him, compels Him to be there reaching out to the people. Searching in the wilderness for that one lost sheep of the flock to bring home to the other ninety-nine.
James 4:13-16 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that." 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. (NAS)
Do we know this sense of urgency? I know that I, more often than not, do not have this level anywhere near in mind. There is always tomorrow. Says who? It is the height of arrogance for me to assume that I have tomorrow to work and to do anything. My next breath and heartbeat are gifts from the Lord. I have relatives and friends who do not know Jesus as Savior, and I say "tomorrow". We need to catch a whiff or a taste of the urgency for this lost and dying world that Jesus had. If we can internalize it, it will make a difference in our attitudes and lives.
Lord Jesus - Reach to us with the urgency of the hour. We look around and see the signs. Lift us up, charge us up so that our batteries don't run low and we don't coast in to glory just over the wire. Help us to finish strong, reaching out to bring many of those around us home to You as the curtain closes on this age. Amen