Monday, March 25, 2013

The Last 7,200 Minutes of your Life

Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?"  Mat 26:52-54

Imagine that you had the gift of knowing exactly when your life was going to end?  You knew that you only had 7,200 minutes – five days – left on this planet.  Would that affect how you acted and what you did?  Jesus knew that He was living in the last five days of His life.  He knew His time was running out and He was getting down to business. 

In the last six months before He died we witness intense training of his close followers and deliberate, slow-but-sure movement toward Jerusalem. Jesus knew that the time had come. The cross was looming larger. To avoid premature arrest and death, He hung around the territory east of the Jordan River. Luke is the writer who records many of his teachings during those final months. As this last portion of his ministry was about to begin, Luke informs us, “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem”(Luke 9:51), literally, “Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem.” We may not know what Jesus looked like, but that passage says a lot about what Jesus came to do.

Although He did perform some little miracles, for the most part Jesus did not perform any miracles the last week of His life.  After He went into Jerusalem He spent a lot of time in prayer and teaching.  I can imagine He wanted to reach as many with the gospel as He could.  He was betrayed at every turn - by the teachers in the temple who were looking for ways to bring charges against Him, by Herod and by Judas Iscariot.  He knew this was all part of the plan.  He knew what was going to happen and He let it happen so the scriptures would be fulfilled.

Herod and the Pharisees could scheme all they wanted, but they wouldn’t take his life till he was ready to lay it down. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.  (Luke 13:32-33)  He had power to determine the right time, his time.

There is an interesting passage in the book of Isaiah. The Savior was speaking in prophecy, “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint”(Isaiah 50:7). Flint is a very hard stone. Jesus had set His face to go to Jerusalem with an unflinching purpose. Can you see his face? 

I think that must be harder than knowing you only have 7,200 minutes left to live.  Knowing what is going to happen would make me want to change it, especially if I were the Son of God who had the power to change things!  But Jesus was all about doing His Father’s will and also about sacrificing Himself for all of us. 

Would you be so willing?  Would you readily give up your life for complete strangers?  Would you go without complaint to the hill called Golgotha and allow yourself to be beaten, stripped of your dignity and nailed to a cross?  Would you not run the other direction if you knew this was coming?  Most of us would live selfishly if we knew we only had five days left.  Of course we might think  first of family and friends and spending time with them but the thoughts would quickly go to our bucket list, greatly abbreviated of course.  Jesus didn’t have a bucket list.  He was born and lived His whole life as a sacrifice for you and me; to fulfill the scriptures. 

Scripture to Claim:   
No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."  John 10:18

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