One week that changed not just that year, not just the history of the world, but it changed eternity! What can we learn from this week that will change us? One lesson is: Listen all the way
Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
It is interesting that long before his actual death Jesus told his disciples exactly what would take place. It seems they understood the “going to Jerusalem” and the “suffering the elders and chief priests” would cause Jesus, and even that He would be killed. This is clear by Peter's reaction that follows the statement in Matthew, where he takes Christ aside and rebukes Him about going to Jerusalem. Why the last part of Jesus’ statement does not register with His disciples is not clear to us, but should be a warning to us. We all need to discipline ourselves to listen all the way. If the disciples had digested all that Christ had shared, perhaps their grief would have been different after His death and burial. I'm sure the fear would still have been there; due to the fact that if the Jewish leaders had murdered Jesus they surely would have no problem killing all of His disciples. So His followers may have still gone into hiding, but they would not have been overwhelmed with grief. Surely, watching their Lord and friend suffer and die would break their hearts, yet they would still have the hope of His promise of resurrection, but that statement had not registered. I wonder how often we cause ourselves a problem concerning our understanding of what God is doing, due to our lack of listening all the way. I think of the “health, wealth and prosperity” movement. They have heard and understood that we are joint heirs of the Son of God, with all the blessings and riches that comes with that. They understand that in eternity there will be no disease, no pain and no needs unmet. Yet, they seem to have turned a deaf ear to so many other statements in Scriptures that describes what it means to be a child of God. Consider: “if they hate me, they will hate you”; “if they persecuted me, they will persecute you”. The Scriptures paint a very clear picture that the Christian life will involve suffering and troubles before we go to heaven. Many believers seem to have only listened to the parts that leave out all the trials and tribulations that may occur before we enter our rest with Him. Everyone has troubles in the life, believer and unbeliever. The difference is we can have God walk through our problems with us. As we meditate in the Word and consider what happened this week to our Lord so long ago, let us make sure we are listening completely to what the Lord is teaching us.
Another lesson from this week is: Watch out for lost Opportunity
Luke 19:39–44 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
This is one of the most powerful lessons Scripture teaches. When God sends opportunity our way we need to be careful not to ignore it, or treat it lightly. Israel had waited so long for their Messiah, yet at the time of His arrival they let the opportunity pass by. We cannot live a life that allows these mistakes. Instead of entering into the full joy of God's plan, we will live in regret of missed opportunities. It is true, “you only go around once in this life”, so you must grab every opportunity that comes from God.
A statue called "Kairos" (opportunity, time, chance) carved by Lysippus: has wings on its feet, long lock of hair on its forehead, bald in the back.
At the base of the statue is this dialogue:
Who and whence was the sculptor? From Sikyon. And his name? Lysippos. And who are you? Time who subdues all things. Why do you stand on tip-toe? I am ever running. And why you have a pair of wings on your feet? I fly with the wind. And why do you hold a razor in your right hand? As a sign to men that I am sharper than any sharp edge. And why does your hair hang over your face? For him who meets me to take me by the forelock. And why, in Heaven's name, is the back of your head bald? Because none whom I have once raced by on my winged feet will now, though he wishes it sore, take hold of me from behind. Why did the artist fashion you? For your sake, stranger.
This week ask yourself, what opportunities has God brought my way right now? What am I doing with them?