For my Easter devotional this year, you can either listen to the podcast or read the script. Join with me as examine how Jesus was quiet through these final days of his life.
It is Holy Thursday and I am so glad you could join me for this Easter Devotional, focusing on the last days of Jesus’ life on earth. Let these words wash over you as you meditate on how he was quiet while everyone around was noisy.
I have noticed an interesting dynamic in this time of being asked to stay at home. We are essentially curtailed in our activity. Slowed down. Our schedules are cleared, and calendars are blank.
It should be quiet.
Yet there is still so much noise.
Facebook in particular is am arena where everyone is shouting at you. Reminding you to stay at home, sending great ideas of how to keep the kids occupied. Telling you about this virtual museum you can visit, or that amazing musical you can watch.
It is fabulous that so much of the world is open to us in this way, and yet we could spend a day looking at all these different ideas and do none of them.
For in times when it gets quiet, and uncomfortable we naturally look for distractions. And there are so many voices in the world happy to distract us.
We are distracted by people who tell us how we should parent, by those who tell us what we should be reading, and also by those who (actually) just want some to argue with.
It takes strength to quiet yourself enough to listen to your soul and the voice of your father. It takes strength to ignore the distractions of those around you and to live from a place of being sure of who you are and who you are called to be.
As Jesus went through the last days leading up to his crucifixion, he operated from this place of strength. In fact, it was a place of quiet certainty. He knew exactly who he was and what he had been called to do.
You see it in all his interactions and conversations leading up to his arrest, and particularly in the conversation at the Passover supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Mark sets the scene for us:
When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”
“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
Mark 14: 17-31 (NIV)
There is a quiet certainty in Jesus’ instructions to his disciples. He gives them detailed instructions to find the house for the Passover. But there is also a quiet acceptance of what is to come. He knows his “appointed time is near”, and he predicts the betrayal of both Judas and Peter, two of his hand-picked and closest followers. Yet this intimate betrayal does not cause him to move from his path.
Jesus didn’t let betrayal of his closest friends distract him from God’s purposes in his life. He did not let the impending pain distract him from breaking bread with his closest friends. He did not let the upcoming suffering distract him from the fact that God loved him and had a purpose for him. He had a quiet certainty of who he was, how loved he was and what he was called to do.
This quiet certainty allowed Jesus to not be distracted. And from this place of being totally loved, and totally accepted he was able to then continue on the path set before him.
Do you have a quiet certainty of how much God loves you? Or are you distracted by the all the voices in the world that say you have to look or act a certain way to be loved?
Do you have a quiet certainty that you have been divinely created? Or do you believe the lie that there are beautiful people and the rest of us?
Do you have a quiet certainty that God has plans for you? Or have you listened to the voices that say that what you do doesn’t matter?
Jesus himself tells us how much we are loved in John 17 verse 23, the title in the NIV of this section is “Jesus prays for all believers” and I am reading the passion translation here.
“You live fully in me and now I live fully in them
so that they will experience perfect unity,
and the world will be convinced
that you have sent me,
for they will see that you love each one of them
with the same passionate love that you have for me.”
I’d like to lead you in prayer as we close this devotion today.
May you help me to know your love fully. Help me not to get distracted by voices that say I am not worthy of love, help me to hear your voice reminding me of the passionate love you have for me.
Lord God, help me to have a quiet certainty that you have created me for a purpose. Help me not to get distracted from the things you have called me to. Show me each and every day how to walk in your ways.
Thank you for listening to this Devotional, I will be back tomorrow for Good Friday, until then, peace be with you.