On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood
Mar. 9, 2014
Jesus left the upper room with His disciples, walked down through the Kidron Valley and up on the slope of the Mount of Olives. Here’s what He tells them.
First, they will all fall away. What dreadful words the Lord speaks to them and even to us. Have you ever felt the sting of those words in the midst of a failure or transgression? Have you experienced a time when, despite your desire to follow Jesus and be obedient, you nevertheless fell away?
Why does this phrase, “fall away,” impact us so deeply? Because we know it’s true. None of us is perfect. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Not one of us can say, “I have never failed the Lord.”
Second, Jesus says the shepherd will be stricken. He quotes the prophecy given in Zechariah 13:7. We know why the Good Shepherd was stricken — for our sins, for the fact we too have fallen away. He knows and loves us more deeply and intimately than any other; therefore, He does not give up on us. We are like a tire with many flats. He keeps patching and resealing us; not trading us in for a new tire so long as we throw upon our arms to Him and cry anew, “Save me, Lord, for I am a sinful human being.”
Our imperfections grieve us. But that is the reason Jesus came. He knew there was no other way than to be stricken for us. His name is Jesus because He saves us from our sins.
Third, Jesus tells the disciples He will go ahead of them into Galilee after He is risen. In His first appearance to women early Easter morning, He also instructs them to tell the disciples He is going ahead into Galilee (Matthew 28:7), but says nothing about meeting them first in Jerusalem. Why does He not tell them that He will first appear to them in Jerusalem?
Jesus is always one step or more ahead of us. Rather than telling us the next thing, He may reveal a direction for us that is the “next” beyond the “next.” We get frustrated at times because we want to know everything in advance. But Jesus often chooses not to reveal to us the “in-between.”
The Lord wants His disciples and us to learn obedience when He is no longer physically present. If the disciples obey His instructions to go to Galilee, then that will be a building-block lesson for them to obey when He later tells them to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4).
Just before His ascension into heaven, Jesus tells His followers they must wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit is given. I wonder if some of them after a few days said, “Well, I’m going home. No use waiting any longer. Nothing is going to happen.” But, no, the 120 kept waiting and praying because they knew Jesus would keep His word. On the 10th day in the Upper Room, their obedience was rewarded with the gift of the Spirit, just as their obedience was rewarded for going to Galilee.
We must always take Jesus at His word; and often there is a waiting period until that word comes to pass.
On Your Mark