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Chronological Bible: November 20, Drawing Jesus near…

Read:

  • Mark 16:12-13
  • Luke 24:13-49
  • John 20:19-31
  • Matthew 28:16-20
  • Mark 16:14-18
  • John 21:1-25
  • Mark 16:19-20
  • Luke 24:50-53

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. [Jesus] acted as if He were going farther, but they urged Him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So He went in to stay with them.” –Luke 24:28-29, ESV

Jesus acted as if He would continue traveling the road. Nothing stopped Him from stopping with the men, except the request of the men. I write quite a bit about how we work alongside Jesus, how we should follow Him wherever He leads. I wonder from this passage if sometimes He wants to just rest with us, but wants to be invited. The men’s plans had them stopping in a town. They enjoyed Jesus’ company, even without knowing Who He actually was at that point. They asked Him to stay; and Jesus obliged.

He invites us to spend time with Him. Maybe it’s time we returned the invitation.

Chronological Bible: November 19, A resurrected future…

Read:

  • Matthew 27:57-66
  • Mark 15:42-47
  • Luke 23:50-56
  • John 19:38-42
  • Matthew 28:1-8
  • Mark 16:1-8
  • Luke 24:1-12
  • John 20:1-13
  • Matthew 28:9-15
  • Mark 16:9-11
  • John 20:14-18

“…Why do you seek the living among the dead?” –Luke 24:5, ESV

Jesus came that we would experience the abundant life He promised to those who find their life in Him. Knowing Him, loving Him, brings peace and freedom that cannot be found in any other source. Yet the old life tempts. The old life that offered predictable stability, even when it was unhealthy stability, calls out. But we must remember the words of the angel at the tomb: Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why do you seek a life-affirming experience among the deadness of the old life? You cannot find life among the death of sin. Only in the resurrected Christ can you find the enriching, affirming life for which you long.

Chronological Bible: November 18, Be careful of the mob you’re in…

Read:

  • Matthew 27:27-31
  • Mark 15:16-20
  • John 19:1-16
  • Matthew 27:32-56
  • Mark 15:21-41
  • Luke 23:26-49
  • John 19:17-37

Jesus’ ministry and death carried one underlying reality: mob mentality. Throughout His ministry, He was followed by a mob. It was a kindly mob, but a mob nonetheless. The groups of people did what others int he group did: they asked for healing, they listened to the teaching, they followed Him down the way.

Throughout His trial and crucifixion, Jesus experienced a different mob. This mob grouping mocked Him, hurled accusations at Him, and called out for His death. The mob of followers during His ministry either dwindled away or became part of the vocal mob of condemners.

Yet two stand out. Two men who could have easily fallen into the mob of their peers stood apart. While one crucified thief demanded Jesus to work miracles, just as the crowd below shouted, the other stood apart. Still being crucified, still facing the same fate, and still looking at the same Jesus, the second thief defended Christ and asked to be remembered. Jesus granted the second thief’s request.

Then, at the foot of the cross, stood a soldier. While his counterparts mocked, jeered, and stirred up dissension against the Christ being crucified, this soldier saw something different. We don’t know if he always stood apart from the crowd or if he had a change of heart at Jesus’ death. But we do know that he saw Jesus for Who He really was, and the soldier spoke the words aloud.

The mob mentality can take over if you are not careful. Just because a group of people agree together does not make that group right. In every season, in every situation, be sure you perform an individual assessment, bathed in prayer, of the situation. Do not be swept up in the mob around you. Know for what you stand and the reasons for which you stand there. Some days there may be a crowd unified in holy agreement. Other days you may stand alone.

Chronological Bible: November 17, Enemies become friends, but not the reason you may think…

Read:

  • Matthew 27:1-26
  • Mark 15:1-15
  • Luke 23:1-25
  • John 18:28-40

“…Then, arraying Him in splendid clothing, [Herod] sent Him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.” –Luke 23:11-12, ESV

Scholars disagree on what verse 12 actually means. One scholar submits that even wicked enemies can unite together in order to do harm to another. A second scholar believes this is an example of Christ being the ultimate unifier, that even enemies can become friends when Jesus is involved. A third scholar didn’t mention the verse at all, though he did mention that Luke was far more interested in the politics of a situation than the other gospel writers.

I wonder if the friendship was not about Jesus at all. In the workplace, there are times when people of a shared rank get together to commiserate about whatever is going on in their shared environments. Parents do the same thing. If you pay attention to social media, when someone becomes a parent, their questions to the cosmos and the responses they get center around the kids. And no matter your experience, if you warren’s a parent, your input is less acknowledged for you do not share the same experience.

An understanding develops when people share experiences. I wonder if Pilate and Herod became friends in commiseration about how to deal with, not Jesus, but the Jews accusing Jesus. Neither ruler could find any accusation to stick. Herod’s own father, Herod the Great, attempted to kill Jesus at birth. The Herod in Luke 23 went so far as to mock Jesus. There was no love lost between Jesus and the family of Herods, yet still no accusation stuck.

Both leaders had to deal with an unruly people casting unsubstantiated accusations against Jesus. The rulers seemed to know significant fallout would occur based on their decision. These two rulers were in the same foxhole, trying to get cover from the battle raging around them. Two sides that should have been united under God; one side hurling obviously false accusations while the other side chose to not respond. What is a secular ruler to do?

What is a secular world to do when they witness the same among modern-day Christians? Maybe the secular world, too, finds friendship across unexpected lines as they try to sort out the battle raging among people who are supposed to live in freedom and truth.

Chronological Bible: November 16, Getting on with it…

Read:

  • Matthew 26:57-75
  • Mark 14:53-72
  • Luke 22:54-71
  • John 18:12-27

“And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest…” –Mark 14:54, ESV

When Jesus goes someplace unknown, we can be like Peter. We commit to Him, but we get nervous about where He goes and what He might experience. We think that maybe watching Him from afar will protect us from uncertainty. What it does instead, like Peter, is put us in a position of experiencing challenges to our beliefs from those who knew we believed something different than how we currently behave.

Our hesitancy serves as a lesson. But it does not derail the plan for our lives. Peter came back to be one of the most prolific evangelists, using controlled passion to proclaim the truth of the cross. It could even be that because of his thrice denial, he became even more impassioned regarding the truth of the Christ Who came to save. If you have followed from a distance, do not let the enemy use that to shame you. Repent, turn back to Jesus, and get on with your calling.