Today With God

Then he came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake for one hour?

[Mark 14:37 NET]

One of the saddest elements in the Gethsemane experience was the disappointment of Jesus in His disciples.

He asked the three most loved of them to be near Him in His great agony. He craved the help of their sympathy. But when He came back to them, hoping to be strengthened by their love, He found them asleep.

A legend of the Brittany peasants tells how the robin got its red breast. As Jesus was being led out to Calvary, a bird, pitying Him, flew down and plucked one thorn from the crown of thorns He wore. The blood spurted from the wound and splashed the bird’s breast.

Ever since, the peasants say, the robin has had a spot of red on its breast in remembrance of its pity for the Master that day. The disciples had it in their power that night, not to pluck thorns from their Master’s brow, but to strengthen Him by their sympathy.

They missed their opportunity, however, and only made Gethsemane harder for Him.

Today With God

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

[Mark 13:31 NET]

The Christian need never fear any calamities or judgements that can possibly come.

Our Lord here foretells great destructions and troubles that would come upon the country. But He told His disciples not to be afraid. No harm should come to them. They were only to take heed not to be led astray. If they would continue faithful, they should be kept in perfect peace through all the perils. “He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.”

History tells us that when the terrible calamity came upon Jerusalem no Christians perished in the awful destruction, because they had been forewarned of the coming disaster and had obeyed their Master’s command, all leaving the doomed city before the siege began, and finding safe refuge.

Always those who believe in Christ and obey His word are safe in any danger. Though the earth itself should be destroyed, God’s children are safe in His love, from which nothing can separate them.

Today With God

Now all the Jews know the way I lived from my youth, spending my life from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem.

[Acts 26:4 NET]

It is a great thing when a man can confidently appeal to his own past. Paul could challenge his enemies to find anything against him from his youth up. The only way we can be ready to make such appeal is to watch all our years, from the youngest.

It is a great thing when a man has a religion about which he is sure. Too many people’s religion is vague. Paul knew Him whom he trusted. He knew that He was the Messiah, the Saviour, and told Agrippa why he knew it, and why he had given his life to witnessing for Christ to all men.

Some people talk in these days as if the thought of the raising of the dead is incredible. Paul did not think it an incredible belief. God has all power – can He not bring up from death those who have died? If He can create from nothing, can He not bring back the dead?

Jesus gave Paul no time for grief over his terrible mistake. “Arise, and stand upon thy feet!” He was to show his penitence not in tears, but by service.

Today With God

Both those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

[Mark 11:9 NET]

Jesus was the people’s idol that day.

Did He suppose that now at the last they were going to accept Him as their Messiah? No: He knew it was only the outburst of an hour, and that this triumphal pageant was but the first stage of His last journey to His cross.

As He heard the song, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” there was a deep undertone ringing in His ear:

“Ride on, ride on in majesty,

I lowly pomp ride on to die.”

The triumphal ride was our Lord’s final declaration of His Messiahship. He fulfilled an ancient prophecy, and thus clearly announced that He was the King foretold.

We cannot but think of the fickleness of earthly enthusiasm.

Five days later Jesus was led in another procession to His cross. A picture by Tintoretto gives the scene of the Crucifixion, after all was over. The crosses stand empty, the people are gone. In the background an ass is nibbling some withered palm leaves.

Today With God

And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

[Col 3:17 NET]

If we belong to Christ in heaven, we must make our lives here on earth correspond with the life of heaven.

Our prayer is, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So we are to mortify, or make dead, all the things in our lives that are not right, or that are not done in heaven. this includes all desires and all acts and dispositions that are not white and clean.

We are to be in this world, walking in the midst of its evil, and are yet to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. The list of things we are to put away is a frightful one. It does not seem possible that we ever shall incline to do these things, and yet we are always in danger of doing them.

There are things also which we are to “put on,” and these are all beautiful things – a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness; we should write off the list and keep it where we may see it continually.

Today With God

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.

[Gal 3:26 NET]

There is a great deal of struggling for honor and place in this world. Men think if they can get a few million dollars they have reached distinction. Or they think if they can get a high office they have won one of earth’s best prizes.

There are some also who spend their life in trying to get recognition in society. How pitiful all this must appear to those who look down from heaven upon this earth!

Paul shows us here what is really the highest rank to which man can attain. He says, “Ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.” To be a son of God is immeasurably higher than being in the most aristocratic circles. To be an heir of God is to be infinitely richer than to be the owner of millions.

When the disciples asked who was greatest, they were thinking only of earthly standards. To be like a little child is to be great. To serve others is the heavenliest occupation to which anyone can out his hands. To be Christ–like is glory.

Today With God

If I must boast, I will boast about the things that show my weakness.

[2 Cor 11:30 NET]

The patriot soldier’s best credentials are his wounds and scars. They are not disfigurements of which he is ashamed, but marks of honor, of which he is proud.

An English soldier referred to his scars as his decorations. Paul speaks of his sufferings and persecutions and of the losses and trials he had endured as a minister as the credentials of his service, and as marks of honor and distinction. He even glories in them. “If I must need glory, I will glory of the things that concern my weakness.”

In another of his epistles Paul speaks of these memorials of suffering and endurance as “marks of Jesus,” which he bore branded on his body.

We are not at all accustomed to think in this way of the costs of our Christian discipleship. We are apt to complain of the things we have to suffer.

But if we suffer for Christ, we may count ourselves honoured. Jesus said, “Blessed are ye when men shall… persecute you.”