Even without that spring weekend two thousand years ago, Jerusalem would be an incredible place. The central narrative of Scripture, both completed and yet to come, revolves around this land and this city. Yet only on one event does history swing on its hinge: the weekend when Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose again, according to Scripture. And it happened in Jerusalem. It was in Jerusalem that the life of everyone who has turned to God was set apart. It’s at the cross of Jesus Christ that life begins. And when we talk about His resurrection, we move from today into eternity.
The hardest work we can do is “knee” work. We’ll find anything else easier to do than pray. Yet Jesus not only told us that men “ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1), He showed us by praying Himself. One with the Father, Jesus still felt the need to pray—and He prayed all the time. After the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples but before the soldiers came for Him in Gethsemane, Jesus let us eavesdrop on His talk with the Father.
Great things happen on water…treacherous things too. Both occurred the night that followed Jesus’ miraculous feeding of more than 5,000 people. A band of frightened men, Jesus’ disciples, shook with terror in a storm-tossed boat on an inky-black sea. Why were they afraid? Weren’t they eyewitnesses to His miracles? Mark 6:52 records a heartbreaking moment in Scripture: “[the disciples] had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.” It took a storm to help the disciples learn a valuable lesson.
Jesus could not have picked a better place to sow seeds of faith than on the hill now called the Mount of Beatitudes. On a carpet of wildflowers and scrub, the people sat captivated, amazed at this Teacher. While rabbis of the day taught the finer points of Mosaic Law, Jesus’ message touched the heart. The rabbis’ endless, dusty rhetoric said little; Jesus’ few words altered the way the people understood life. Jesus’ words, ignited by the Spirit of God, still cut through the stuff of life and call us to live as God intends for us to live.
A special grief exists when a life is not well lived. We love to celebrate the stories of those who have finished well. But of those whose lives bear the consequences of poor decisions and slow erosion, we sadly sigh and wonder what could have been…and then, in personal, private moments, we wonder how our lives will end. Will we finish well? Are we on a good track? Discover from the tragic life of one of the Bible’s greatest examples of failed potential just what it means when we don’t take God seriously
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