Be Still When You’re Disillusioned (Lent 34-2014)

As we prepare to enter Holy Week in our devotional series Be Still and Know that I AM God, I find today’s verses of Scripture one of the most reassuring passages.  It isn’t located in the Gospel accounts of Passion Week, but the same concept is there very clearly, just as it is present in our lives today.  Be Still When You’re Disillusioned.

Matthew 11:1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” 7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Here’s why I find it reassuring: Even among the greatest of the faithful believers, doubts can happen.  But doubts can be overcome. 

Holy Week is all about that.  John the Baptist was the greatest of those born of women, by Jesus’ own words.  He was the one to prepare the way for the Christ.  And yet, sometimes when things don’t make sense, even the best among us can find ourselves questioning.  We can find ourselves becoming disillusioned.

Jesus says, “Be Still” to your doubts.  He gives evidence to buck up the imprisoned prophet.  “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me,” He says.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday.  Everyone is cheering.  The crowd loves the Jesus on a donkey riding into Jerusalem (just as royalty would).  He’s going to become our Messiah.  He’s going to overthrow Rome and vindicate the Jewish people.  Jerusalem will be the world capital and we’ll all be delivered!  Then there will be shalom, true peace!

Well, not yet.  And not like that.

The expectations of a world might be asking as Holy Week unfolds, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  The reassurance that leads to Easter’s empty tomb is found in Jesus’ encouragement to look at the evidence and in His words, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

The crowd, as Holy Week progresses, goes from celebration to doubt to disdain to demanding crucifixion.  The way God saved us is totally different than what was expected, even though Jesus told the disciples over and over again that this was precisely what was going to happen.  Every bit of evidence foretold was fulfilled.  Jesus’ empty tomb on Easter Sunday ought to put an end to all doubts.  If we accept any of that as evidence…

So where are you during Lent?  Are you cheering Jesus’ triumphal entry or doubting whether He’s really the Messiah?  Are you expecting God to do things your way or are you looking at the evidence God has provided showing His Son as The Way?

Be Still When You’re Disillusioned.  The evidence is there.

Be Still.  When I AM not meeting your expectations, the problem isn’t with Me.

Be Still.  Come to My Word and see the evidence of who I AM.

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.”

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  Joel 3: 17 “’Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. 18 ‘In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the valley of acacias. 19 But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood. 20 Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations.”

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do your expectations ever get in the way of your progress?
  2. How do you feel when your expectations aren’t met?  What do you do as a response to unmet expectations?
  3. Read the story of Jesus cleansing an evil spirit from a boy in Mark 9:20 “So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?’ ‘From childhood,’ he answered. 22 ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ 23 ‘”If you can?”’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’ 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”  What did Jesus do when others were doubting?  What did the boy’s father ask?

SGL 34 2014 Preparing the way and getting disillusioned

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on April 12, 2014

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