Today we begin our time in Lenten devotionals. First, we would like to share thoughts on Jesus Predicting His Death. What I found amazing is that he not only brought it to light once but three times. I find that I tend to read one of the Gospels but do not go to the others Gospels to see what they each had to say. It is very enlightening. I confess I never knew he spoke of it three times to his disciples.
1) Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
2) Matthew 17:22-23 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.
3) Matthew 20:17-19 Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
With each time he says this he gives more information but note that also in each his last statement is, “On the third day he will be raised to life!” How horrible would it be to be able to predict the day you will die and how it will all happen? The ordeal of knowing that you will be flogged, beaten, spit on, condemned and so much more. On top of all of that it begins by being betrayed by one of your closest friends and you know which person it is. I can’t imagine me not going to that person and saying “what the heck is your problem?” Yet Jesus spoke calmly and gently and expected nothing to change because it was what His Father had called him to do.
During this time of Lent try to imagine yourself in His place. Not only in your reaction to knowing that death is coming in such a horrible way but in the much smaller things that are acts of betrayal. You’ve told someone something in confidence and they told someone else, anything that you consider a betrayal. What is your first thought? I’m pretty sure it’s not calmness and gentleness. I know it sure isn’t for me. The good news is we are still loved by Christ no matter our reaction. I am so glad that my salvation is not decided by the first reaction I have to things that upset me. Once I have a chance to calm down I can usually be more reasonable about things.
To be honest if we tell someone something private we stand a very good chance that it will be told to someone else. Take it to God instead. He surely will not tell anyone and will listen to all the ins and outs of why you are so angry about it with love, kindness and gentleness that can never be given by anyone person friend or not.
Lord, I ask for your hand to be on all of us as we seek to do your will this Easter season. Help us not to be betrayers but instead be loving, kind and gentle in spirit as you would want us to be. Amen