Thursday, December 24, 2020

Advent 2020, Thu., 12/24 - Matthew 26

It is surreal to read the events leading up to the crucifixion (tomorrow's reading, on Christmas Day!) while anticipating our celebration of Christmas. This is Advent, celebrating all Christ did for us!

PRAY for God to give us a deep, deep appreciation for Christ.

READ Matthew 26.

REFLECT
This chapter is grievous! The beauty of Jesus dining at a (former) leper's house, having his head anointed by a woman's supply of expensive perfume - these are juxtaposed by the disciples' pettiness and shallow words of devotion. The ones who had spent the most time with Him "will all fall away" (31). But this is precisely why Jesus came to do what He did - no other man could perfectly obey God and earn righteousness. The sequence of events read like a script from a suspenseful, sorrowful movie. You know what's coming, and you cannot stop it. Judas' complaints, face-to-face betrayal, and leading of the mob. Peter's pledge ("even if I must die with you, I will not deny you," 35) and subsequent denial. The disciples failing to keep vigil in prayer and failure to stay by Jesus' side at his arrest. All of this in one night and all of this in one short, quick chapter. It shows us Jesus' determination, and our need for a Savior, our need for Jesus. 

RESPOND
I want to cry. Sometimes we look at the events of the world and think, "How can it be so bad? How can we be so bad?" I look at the history of my life and wonder if I've learned anything from the disciples' bad example. It's so hard to fathom - the disciples walked, talked, lived with Jesus! They saw His power, even saw Jesus resurrect people from death, and they still struggled! No, I am not better than them. I have His Word with me, His Spirit in me, and I still struggle. This magnifies my need, but it also deepens my appreciation for God's grace in sending His Son Jesus to take on humanity. What will I celebrate today/tonight? My God is with me. Though I struggle, Jesus overcomes even me. What a gift!

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