Today’s Reading: John 18:32(NIV)
32 This happened so that the words of Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.
17 Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death 19 and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!”
By now, the disciples should not have been surprised by the events of this day. After all, Jesus had told them what would happen long before they reached the city’s gates. We human types have a tendency to try to ignore the things that we do not wish to hear or accept. We pretend it isn’t true, and in our pretending somehow believe we have control to alter the course of mankind. Yet, deep down inside, we know that God’s Word will one day be fulfilled. Why is it hard to accept?
Isn’t it ironic how the people who lauded Jesus in a ticker-tape parade into the city gates of Jerusalem just five days ago are now posturing for his conviction and execution? People tend to listen to the most popular thoughts of the moment, and jump on that bandwagon, without fully seeing the bigger picture. There is no better example of this than in a political campaign. Popular and favored candidates, hopefully with lots of financial resources and backing, place their names on a party ticket and public ballot. Depending upon their political platform and charisma, the people determine who will rise to the top of the popular vote. This candidate may or may not be the best choice for election or re-election; yet, public opinion can and will swing the pendulum based upon the moment. One can only hope and pray that the elected will live up to the many hopes and aspirations of those who voted them into office. If they don’t succeed according to the public opinion, they can expect to be crucified in the next election year. And the unbridled truth is this: when one election ends, another campaign begins.
The people were campaigning for the Savior’s death. It had been foretold 585 years earlier, just after the walls of the temple had been rebuilt in Jerusalem. It was predicted even before crucifixion had been invented or implemented as a means of execution. The Messiah would come to die to save the world from itself. He would become the perfect sacrificial lamb, a sin offering for the whole of humanity. Why were the people so surprised when they saw the prophecy fulfilled before their very eyes? Why does this fulfillment of prophecy surprise us today?
May the Lord Jesus Christ be surprisingly real to you today as we celebrate the dawning of a brand new year.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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