We have just finished reading about how Jesus has cleared the temple and answered the religious leaders as to why. He didn’t really give them the answer they were looking for, but the answer that was a foreshadowing of things to come. He knew their part to play and He planted a seed in their hearts for their part. In today’s reading we are going to look at the crowd there in the temple during Passover.
Jesus’ ministry is still very young; about six months old. His fame is growing but He has not started attracting the HUGE crowds yet. Those He is attracting are coming because of the signs they are seeing. “Many believed in His name when they saw the signs that He was doing” (verse 23). John hasn’t shared any of Jesus’ actual teachings with us yet, but I have no doubt He had messages along with His miracles. I wonder if He has given the sermon on the mountain top yet. We didn’t really get a clear timeline of when Jesus delivered that message from the other gospel accounts, but it is believed to have happened early in Jesus’ ministry.
I’m wondering if the people were counting Jesus’ upsetting the tables of the money changers and running the merchants out as one of His “signs.” No one else would have gotten away with such an act. I imagine that His response to the religious leaders also gained Him a bit of “street cred.” But even with all this people cheering for Jesus, He didn’t entrust His fate to them.
Jesus knew the hearts of man. I think the song lyrics “What have you done for me lately” say it all. Man is fickle! One minute you are the toast of the town and the next you are the scum of the earth. As long as Jesus was tickling their fancy they were rooting for Him.
He had those who put their trust in Him even when things didn’t always go their way and when what He said was hard, but even those men had their own agenda. They had a plan they wanted Him to follow. But His future was NOT something He was willing to let man direct for Him. He trusted the Father’s plan and let HIM direct the future of His life.
When I came to my study time today I was struggling with a couple of issues in my home. The first is my husband’s health has taken a new twist and requires constant monitoring. I have to find creative ways to be present without appearing to hover over him. The second is our aging dog. He has been crying in pain this evening and I don’t know how to help him. We have been struggling with end of life decisions for some time with the dog. I DON’T want to turn loose of him simply because his conditions cause me more work but I also don’t want to make him suffer needlessly. We both love him dearly but my husband’s identification with him is what has kept me fighting so long and hard for the dog’s health.
I WANTED God to speak to me today in my reading and tell me what to do. I wish I could simply pick up the word any day and find the EXACT answer for every issue I face. But it doesn’t usually work that way. Today it kind of did and for this I want to say a SPECIAL thank You to God. Let me tell you what I heard first.
I subscribe to KLOVE’s encouraging word of the day email. I haven’t been able to log in as often as usual, with all that is going on, so I read the last two day’s emails this morning. Yesterday’s was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). Boy do I need His strength! Today’s verse is “Listen to my instructions and be wise. Don’t ignore it” (Prov. 8:33). As Samuel said, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:10). And He did!
He brought both these verses back to my mind as I was struggling with my feelings about my dog. Then as I opened His word and read today’s passage He spoke again. The verse He used that jumped out at me is a bit out of context, and I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings with that, but it ministered to me. “He Himself knew what was in man” (verse 25b). He let me know that He knows my heart and all that I am wrestling with. He also comforted me by allowing me to voice my true intentions with my dog. I don’t want to end his life to ease my responsibilities, but only to stop his pain that I can’t alleviate.
Forgive me for running off track today. But I felt compelled to speak to the fact that Jesus knows what each of us is going through too. His word is not simply a history lesson but applicable to our daily lives too. He still knows what is in man. He also sill doesn’t entrust Himself to us. He has the plan and, PRAISE GOD, He brings us along with Him in it. He wraps His arms around me and shelters me as we move toward whatever it is He has planned for me. I will not always like where we are going but I can rest assured that I will not be going alone. And I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!
Father God, thank You for meeting me where I am at tonight. You know my struggles. Thank You also for bringing me back to YOU plan in Your word. Thank You that after receiving the comfort I needed, we walked a little further into Your word and saw Your truths hidden there. Thank You Jesus for sticking to Yours and the Father’s plan. Thank You that You didn’t, and still don’t, let our emotions or plans sway You from doing what is necessary. Thank You that even my fickle heart and temper tantrums don’t make You give in to my will.
“I know you don’t like where we are going. When you are done throwing your fit, dry your eyes and take My hand. We will walk this together.”