Today's Thought for the Week is from Lesley Beath.
‘So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death’. (John 11:53)
At this time of year many Christians will be reading of Christ's final week. Following His journey to Calvary and meditating and thrilling in the great truth of His resurrection on Easter Sunday. By this process we are allowing our faith to rise as well as our love and praise at what Jesus has done. By thinking of it and speaking it afresh we can behold it anew.
This Scripture, however, does not belong in that final week. It occurs after the incident where Christ had raised Lazarus from the dead, told them to loosen the grave clothes and set him free. Many of the witnesses to this event believed. But for the Jewish leaders it signalled the point where they finally moved from the thought of merely arresting Christ to killing Him.
Jesus knew His death was destined. As the Passover lamb He was to be sacrificed at Passover time. He withdrew at this time and remained in secret with His disciples. No time was ever wasted in Christ's life so this is significant. We can try to imagine the disciples’ thoughts. Perhaps they feared the attitude and actions of the Jewish leaders. Perhaps they were concerned about future events. They must have contrasted their positive experience since Jesus had touched their lives with the rising tide of opposition and hostility He now faced. They must have wondered about the miracle of Lazarus and perhaps on Jesus’ words to Martha - ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying’. (John 11:25)
How long was the time He spent withdrawn? Was it weeks or a month or more in secret? We don’t know, we are only told that they spent some time withdrawn and in secret.
It’s not hard for us to feel we too have been withdrawn and held in secret. Away from the crowds, away from fellowship, away from past miracles and experiences. The key thing however is - have we been withdrawn with Jesus? Have we been held in secret with Him? Have we been pondering Jesus’ words? Perhaps like the disciples we have been thinking of what is ahead. For us at this particular Easter it seems as if lock down is coming to an end. Maybe we are full of life or maybe a bit apprehensive of what the future may hold.
Or we may feel we have not been in secret with Christ and allowed fears, or fear of others, or the accusation of the enemy to bring shadow or distance. Like those in the garden we have slept rather than watched. Maybe the coldness of sin has slipped around us. Rather than looking forward to coming out there is a dread caused by the fear of our present condition.
But Jesus steps back in public at exactly the right time. He appeared 6 days before the Passover, back in the home of Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead. His disciples were with him and many came to see Him. Ahead of Christ was the week leading to Easter Sunday. His journey was through the sorrow of Calvary to the Resurrection from the dead in the power of an endless life which would be available for all mankind. Full, rich grace available to all who will come.
If your secret, withdrawn time has been shadowed or fearful there is still tremendous hope. Christ steps back into your life at the exactly the right time. His Resurrection brought life to the disciples despite their ups and downs. Despite their misunderstandings or feelings. Resurrection brought life to the thief on the cross. Resurrection life was even first preached to those who shouted, ‘Crucify Him!’ Christ's Resurrection life is still here for each of us. Cast off the secret place with its shadows or its fears, even its comfortable things. Choose to be one who meditates and thrills today in Jesus. Focus on the Scripture in these coming days and walk with Him from now till Easter Sunday with its resurrection life. Allow the resurrection and new life to bring hope to the days ahead. Let the Scripture fan into flame again your love for Christ. Start even today to see Jesus, to find His precious forgiveness and renewing life afresh.
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