23 November 2016
Reading: Psalm 134; Matthew 14-16
21 Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. 22 Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!” (Matthew 16:21-22 MSG)
It was necessary for Jesus to submit to suffering, death, and resurrection to fulfill the purpose for which he came into the world. His suffering and death were necessary to our salvation. No shortcut permitted. It was necessary.
So far, Jesus’ disciples had been experiencing miracles and wonders. They saw the blind and lame healed and the power of Satan overcome. They saw the supernatural multiplication of food to feed hungry crowds. They saw Jesus’ fame and popularity with the people growing off the chart. This was the Kingdom of God in action, and they eagerly anticipated the next glorious supernatural surprise! These committed followers of Jesus simply couldn’t imagine reversal, suffering, and loss being necessary.
How like me! If God is my provider, then why can’t I have what I want when I want it? If God is good, then why do things go bad? If God loves me, why does he allow pain and disappointment into my life? I want smooth sailing all the way!
I’m mostly interested in the comfort of blessing, but God is just as interested in the character he can develop in me when I experience pain. I’m eager for the gratification of fulfilled promises, but God is just as interested in the patience he can teach me through the frustration of waiting.
Like Jesus, I’ve got to trust my Father to know what’s necessary and when. And, like Jesus, I must learn to submit to what’s necessary. This isn’t easy for me.
Friends, I know it’s not easy for you either, but let’s determine to respond in faith to what’s necessary!
Father, I know you love me. I reaffirm my trust that you know what’s best for me – what’s necessary and when it’s necessary. Please help me and my friends to practice what we believe day by day, hour by hour, and especially in the heat of the moment. We trust you, and we submit to what necessity requires. Amen.