The God Who Fights For Us

20th March

On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered’.””

Mark 14:27

As Jesus was on His way to pray in Gethsemane, so much must have been going through His head. He was going to pray for strength to persevere through the oncoming suffering He would face, and pray for His disciples whom He knew would desert Him shortly. Can you imagine the weight upon Jesus’ shoulders? Not only would He carry the world’s sins on His shoulders but would be abandoned by well meaning but scared friends, friends whom He had poured into for the last three and a half years, friends who had left behind even their families to follow Jesus. Can you imagine how alone Jesus must have felt? Yet Jesus, despite knowing they would abandon Him, was already making a reconciliation plan for after His resurrection, “But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Isn’t that incredible grace?! That same response is Jesus’ words for us. Even though He knows we will make wrong decisions and do things that abandon or even bring shame to His name, He still says ‘I will go ahead of you and wait for you to come back to Me.’ What grace, what love and what mercy.

Good News Even In Bad Times

19th March

Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where He preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” He announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!””

Mark 1: 14-15

When you think of good news, you don’t expect it to be coupled with bad news. Well, in Mark’s gospel, this is exactly what we read. Mark tells us that almost straight after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee to preach ‘good news’. Hold on, wait a second, how can there be ‘good news’ even though John has just been arrested. That was terrible news; News which no doubt shook the whole community. Yet, Jesus taught us and all those around Him, that His coming far outweighed the bad news of John’s arrest. It is not that Jesus wasn’t moved by John’s arrest, far from it, John was His cousin after all. Yet Jesus wanted to highlight that even when bad things happen, even things that result in death, the truth that the Saviour of the world had come to forgive sins and to right all the wrongs, stood as a firm foundation in the midst of bad news.

Even though John had just been arrested and Jesus’ followers must have been filled with fear, more kept following Him, even leaving their livelihood (v18) and family (v20). This shows us that in the midst of hardship, in the midst of bad news, there is always a light calling us and beckoning us with the ‘GOOD NEWS’. This news not only can change our current circumstances but can change our eternity. Don’t let bad news steal you away from the good news that Jesus has come. His Kingdom is here in our hearts and He lives among us!