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Lent 2009

God Knows What is Going to Happen

By Bob Jacobson
Saturday, March 28, 2009

Scripture Verses
John 18:1-11
Jesus Arrested
1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 
3 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"
5 "Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. 
7 Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?"  And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
8 "I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." 
9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away!  Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
As I thought about the above scripture I realized that Jesus (John 18:4) knew what was going to happen to him the next day.  But the disciples didn’t. And the disciples didn’t have the knowledge and comfort that comes from scripture like Romans 8:28.

Our knowledge about tomorrow is kind of like that of the disciples: we don’t know what is going to happen.  Romans 8:28 is comforting in that it says God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  Whatever is in store for me tomorrow will be part of that everything working together for the good of God’s people.

There is no doubt that what was about to happen, Jesus taking our sins to the cross (John 19:18), was for the good of all of us who love God.  But I imagine the people around Jesus some 2,000 years ago couldn’t see what possible good could come from the events that were unfolding around them, including Jesus’ death on the cross.  

In times like we are experiencing now, with all the unknowns about the economy, it is reassuring to me that God knows what is going to happen.  And Romans 8:28 reassures me that for God’s people all will turn out for our good.  It doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials to go through or tough times to face, but I doubt that any of us will have to face the suffering that Jesus faced that night as the detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees came to arrest him.

God promises to deliver us from our trials.  It most cases he will deliver us here on earth.  In some cases he will deliver us in heaven.  Either case is OK with me.  I believe in Jesus and have faith that God will be with me and see me through whatever he has planned for me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrifice your Son made for me many years ago.  While I don’t see the big picture as you do,  I’m beginning to understand that many of the trials we face are for the benefit of others,  to help them search for you and to want to know more about you.  Thank you for using me to help others find Jesus.  Amen.