Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day 4: Easter Devotional - Crucial Conversations . . .

Day 4:  Time is running out . . .
Matthew 26:1-5:
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
Only two more days and it all comes to an end.
I don't need to tell you that two days is not a lot of time.  It's less than a weekend.  The last three years comes down to a final forty-eight hours.  If you are reading this on Tuesday . . . by late Thursday night Jesus will be in custody.  Just imagine the person you have followed for the last three years (left home, left jobs, left life as you have known it) has just told you He will be murdered in two days. This is clearly the end of the line.
But hold up, isn't that all part of the plan?  Why would His followers be anxious?
We forget that we view this story from the end-first.  We come to the story of the crucifixion with thoughts about the resurrection.  It is like watching a movie knowing the ending.  Nothing is urgent when you know the ending.  
Of course, when you don't know the ending, everything changes . . .
Jesus' followers had no idea what was about to happen.  The Bible says they were deeply confused when He spoke of His upcoming death.  You would have been in the same situation if you knew nothing about the resurrection.  When Jesus talks about His death, you would not have viewed it as a doorway to salvation.  You would not have said, "yeah, but it all changes on Sunday morning when He comes out of the tomb."  Death for you meant that it was over.  Jesus is no more.  Time to find a new hobby.
But it was not just the end of a cool journey . . . if Jesus dies, it would be proof that He wasn't who He said He was.  His death meant He was a fraud.  The Jews had an idea of a future Day of the Lord when everyone is resurrected but they were pretty certain the Messiah had to be alive to make that happen.  For now, Jesus has less that forty-eight hours to figure out how to keep from dying because (as far as the disciples knew) once He is dead it pretty much proves the religious leaders were right.
If that wasn't enough pressure,  the word on the street is that He is about to be arrested.  Oh, and behind the scenes Judas is walking past the offices of the Jewish leaders and lingering just a little bit longer.  Inside the mind of Judas a plot is being hatched that will see Jesus betrayed.
It is like we are in the 4th quarter, there is a minute left to go and we are down by eleven points.  Something big has to happen or we were really wrong about this guy . . .
Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
Time waits for no man.   It is like we are all in a swift moving river that is headed for the sea of eternity.
For those who have not embraced the resurrection the clock is ticking.  Because we put our trust in Christ that ticking should be always there, always reminding us of the time that is running out.  Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . 
It is Tuesday.  There are four days until Easter.  Would you join me in praying about who you are going to bring to church for Easter?  If you, like me, feel the urgency of people coming to the truth of God in Christ, what better week to summon up what Rob Fisher has called, "Twenty seconds of insane courage" and invite someone to go to church with you this weekend?
Something simple like, "where are you going for Easter?" gets the ball rolling.  Or "why don't you come to church with us this weekend and join us for dinner afterward?"  Maybe even, "my church is doing something cool this weekend, come with me to check it out and then we can hang out afterward."
The worst that could happen is that they have other plans.
You never know what God can do with an awkward invitation.  You will always know what happens if you stay quiet.
My church is starting a new series about important conversations this weekend.  If you need a place to invite someone to, click the link below and it will tell you the times and locations for LCBC, a church in Southeastern PA with a bunch of convenient locations.  Whether it is my church or yours, invite someone to come with you.
You have only four days left.
Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .


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