Today's Devotional Thought
November 11, 2013 by Rachel Piferi
Withstand the Test
When the going gets tough, what do you do? Do you stay and fight? Do you run for the hills? Do you persevere? Do you quit?
Today's verse is not even a complete verse. It is part of a verse in the story of Jesus' arrest and eventual crucifixion. While the story of Jesus' arrest is told in a few places, this particular verse comes from Matthew and comes after Judas has betrayed Jesus with a kiss and after Peter struck one of the officials with his sword. It is a quick statement after Jesus has commented on how the group has come to arrest him at night and that his arrest is falling in line with the prophesy of the scriptures. And then, you read these words: Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
For the first time, Jesus loyal followers have completely deserted him. The going had gotten really tough and persecution was likely. And, they fled.
If you look a few verses after this, you will also read of Peter's denial of Jesus while He was on trial. And, just a few verses before this one, Peter and others couldn't stay awake, even at Jesus' request, when they were praying with Him in the garden.
Sounds like a pretty disappointing group of followers, eh? One downright betrays him with a kiss. One, who claims that he will follow him anywhere, even to his death, can't stay awake to pray with Jesus and then outwardly denies that he knows him at all. And, the rest just run away when Jesus is arrested for fear of being associated with him. Is this who Jesus chose to be his inner circle? Are these the men who are going to take Jesus' story to the world?
Yes. It is.
What I think is very encouraging about this group that Jesus chose is that they were fallible men who did a lot of growing through their relationship with Jesus Christ. They loved Jesus. They were eager. But, they needed to mature in their relationship with Him and in their faith. And, in their growth, their faith was tested at times. And, in the case of today's verse, they failed the occasional test. But, knowing Jesus, learning from Him and from their own mistakes, and witnessing his resurrection matured them from tentative followers to bold and flourishing leaders.
Do you want to go from tentative to bold and flourishing? Stay close to Jesus. Continue to learn from His Word. Continue to learn from your mistakes and missteps and realize that there may be persecution and tests along the way. But, continue to learn from all of these experiences, staying close to Jesus while you mature. And, rest in the fact that Jesus was patient with His inner 12 and he will be patient with you as you mature into the dynamic leader that you can be for Him.