Thursday, April 6, 2023
“Ignorance is bliss,” according to eighteenth-century English poet Thomas Gray. I think I agree with him in one specific area: I am glad I am ignorant of the details of the future. How many times would I choose to stay in bed with the doors locked if I knew every detail of what was going to happen to me in the coming day? Probably a lot. For me, not knowing what a day will bring adds to the adventure and tests my faith in the One who does know. I believe my trust in Jesus Christ to bring about God’s outcomes is strong enough to face just about anything on any given day. But before I get too close to the precipice of pride and risk a fall, let me pause for a moment and humble myself before Almighty God and thank Him for the grace He has granted to make this day possible and to make my life qualified to walk with Him.
“Jesus, I realize that I am nothing without you, and that it is your life in me that makes living possible. May I respond to every situation today with faith in your work that is being carried out in and through me and may it all be for your glory. Amen.”
Being focused on God’s outcome is the key to surviving change, inconvenience, interruptions, and tragedies. This would be so much truer if we knew that they were coming. We do expect those things to happen; we just don’t know when they will and how severe they will be. But Jesus did. Tucked away in today’s Scripture passage is an incredible statement of mission and purpose. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out…
John 18:1-4 1When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. 4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
Every detail of His suffering and death were known to Him. He knew He would not sleep this night. He knew He would be dragged from one tribunal to another to face His accusers. He knew He would have to watch their hypocrisy as they refused to become ceremonially unclean in Pilate’s palace just so they could eat the Passover lamb, all the while sentencing God’s Passover Lamb to death. He saw the scourging and flogging He would suffer at the hands of powerful Roman soldiers. He knew about the crown of thorns that would be placed on His head. He felt the pain of being rejected by the people who just days earlier had proclaimed Him as their King. He knew He would not be physically able to carry His own cross to Calvary because He had been so badly beaten. He knew He would be stripped naked and nailed to a cross until He was dead. He knew that for the first time in all eternity He would experience in His body the painful punishment of sin. He knew that all of this was going to happen to Him on this day, and yet He went out to meet it and embrace it.
How could He do that? Because He was totally committed to God’s purpose, and He totally trusted God’s power to accomplish His purpose. Besides, knowing the future was not limited to just this day – Jesus also saw His glory after the resurrection. He knew more than just the outcome of today – He knew the outcome of forever. He chose to focus on the eternal and not the immediate.
So must we! We may not know the details of today, but we do know the outcome of forever. We know the promise of God to rescue us from wrath and bring us into His presence for all eternity. We know His power to fulfill His promise. But we continue to choose to look at the present instead of the promise. Had Jesus done that He would have run to hide when the soldiers approached. Instead, He went out to them and gave Himself into God’s hand, not theirs.
O my friends, there is so much truth for us to discover in this, but time limits us. May the Holy Spirit bring to your mind and heart the treasures of these truths as you meditate on this today. May we have the faith to face the day, knowing that we are not at the mercy of the world but in the hand of the Father. Even though we are convinced we will suffer in the present, may our focus be on the Person who will resurrect us from it with the same power He used to resurrect His Son.