Jul. 11, 2020

Unprepared for Trouble

Matthew 26:30-35 New Living Translation

 30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,

‘God will strike[e] the Shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”

33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

 

This is a very familiar passage of the bible. Jesus and the 12 disciples had just shared the Passover meal together. He told them at the end of the meal that one of them was going to betray Him. We know that the disciples are totally oblivious as to what is about to happen.

When they leave the upper room where they shared the Passover meal, as they are walking along, Jesus makes another shocking and very sobering statement. He tells them that all 12 of them are going to forsake Him this very same night. Not tomorrow or next week or three months from now…but tonight. Peter and all of them boast that they will not ever forsake Him. They are willing to lay down their lives for Him! They all make this assertion.

But they were unprepared for trouble. We can only intentionally prepare for trouble if we know it is coming. People buy life insurance because they know death is coming. They budget for car and home repairs and maintenance because they know funds are going to be needed. But the disciples didn’t have the slightest clue of what was about to take place. This is one reason it is vital for us to heed the direction of the Holy Spirit. He will often prepare us for what is coming. He knows what is ahead when we don’t. Jesus tried to prepare the disciples but they were of an entirely different frame of mind than Jesus was. They thought their lives would continue just as they had the past three years. That is why it was easy for them to declare their loyalty to Jesus with such fierce confidence.

The atmosphere they imagined in which their lives may be required was an atmosphere of what they were used to: Jesus preaching on the Mount of Olives, the crowds enthralled with His wisdom, people being healed of their sicknesses and diseases, some raised from the dead, thousands all fed and filled with just a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread, Jesus teaching in the synagogue and holding regular prayer meetings. This was the atmosphere they likely had in mind when they made these bold declarations of giving up their lives for Jesus.

However, they were unprepared for trouble. They had not expected the riot and injustice that was about to occur. Jesus had already told them what was going to happen. He had told them He would be killed. He had told them He would be leaving them. He had tried to prepare them. He instructed them to watch and pray. Jesus knew that what was coming would test their resolve, it would attack their strength and throw them off balance.

But because the disciples were clueless, they didn’t sense the gravity of what Jesus was sharing with them. They expected that things would continue just as they had been. People don’t prepare for trouble if they don’t know it’s coming. None of us were prepared for the coronavirus. Most of the world did not know it was coming. Noah built an ark because God told him what to do. Noah didn’t have any ark-building experience. There was no blueprint. No written instructions came in the mail. No UPS truck delivered an ark kit…marked “Some Assembly Required”. No, Noah had to rely on God because Noah was not expecting that kind of trouble. He had no concept of a worldwide flood of water. And other than ‘because God said so’, Noah had no logical reason to expect to need an ark. By the time it starts raining, it is too late to start looking for gopher wood and making a big batch of tar.

When the Lord gives us instructions, it is important for us to obey…immediately. Human beings like to reason things out. Sometimes what the Lord tells us doesn’t seem reasonable or logical. But it is vital that we obey. He knows when a flood is coming. We may not know, but He does. He knows when a pandemic is coming, we don’t. He knows when a tsunami is going to happen, we don’t. He warns us of things to come. He shares His wisdom with us. He makes provision for us and protects us. But we need to pay attention and not dismiss His instructions.

Trouble is coming whether we know it or not. Trouble is coming whether we expect it or not. Trouble is coming whether we believe it or not. Trouble is coming whether we are prepared or not. So be prepared. Heed the Lord’s direction. Jesus’ preparation for the disciples was simple. They weren’t required to build an ark. Just watch and pray. But they were too tired. Too sleepy. Too at ease. We don’t have to be unprepared for trouble. We serve the all-knowing God. Hear Him and obey what He says.

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