“During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples:
This is my body.
Taking the cup and thanking God, he gave it to them:
Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood,
God’s new covenant poured out for many people
for the forgiveness of sins.
I’ll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I’ll drink with you in the kingdom of my Father.’
They sang a hymn and went directly to Mount Olives.”
I can only imagine the shock and horror Jesus’ disciples felt when they realized Jesus was going to die. I’m sure they were sitting at the table during the Last Supper, looking at each other with perplexed faces, hoping Jesus was just using metaphors again, and they would all be together the next day like always.
Of course, we know Jesus was being very literal, letting them know it was the end of the road with Him in physical form, and they would have to figure out how to continue without Him. Scholars say it is probable that Jesus’s Chosen Twelve walked with Him no longer than one year of His ministry before He died on the Cross. Can you imagine how you would have felt, having just given up your livelihood and left your family to follow this man who is now leaving you? What would you have said to Jesus? I sure know what I would’ve said:
“Hey Jesus! I feel played! I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!”
I know I would have said that because I have said that to Him. I’ve told Him that I didn’t give my heart to Jesus at an early age just to be ill for 20 years and need a liver transplant at the young age of 18. I remember thinking that had I known that would happen, I would have been out drinking and turning up like all my other teenage friends. I remember telling God that had I known I would still be single at the age of 28, I would have carelessly thrown away my purity in high school just like all of my other friends. Had I known I would not be filthy rich at this age, I would never have maintained my integrity in business dealings, and I bet I’m not the only one who has had these thoughts.
But the scripture that comes to mind when I tell God all the woulda/coulda/shoulda’s of my life “had I known X,Y, and Z” is Jeremiah 1:5, “‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” In that scripture, God is telling Jeremiah that he was called at a young age to consecrate his life to God because of the amazing things God wanted to do with him.
See, some people don’t recognize their calling until they are older, have made mistakes, or are in more difficult places in life. They cannot just leave everything behind and follow Christ. What an honor to be called early on and allow God to use you for a longer amount of time! We have to remember, though, that Jesus never promised us a party here on earth. In fact, He promised that we would have trouble here. But He also promised us hope, because if He overcame the world, so can we.
You may not feel like what you’re going through is what you “signed up for” when you decided to follow Christ, but take heart, friends, nothing is a surprise to the One who called you. Just like the Disciples, God has chosen you because He knew you had the strength and maturity to make Jesus’ Name famous in the earth.
Here’s a prayer for when you feel like you’re dealing with more than you signed up for:
Father God, in Jesus’ Name,
I know my times are in Your Hands.
Just like Jeremiah, Esther, David, and Jesus, I know You’ve called me for such a time as this.
Please help me to remain strong in You, and to be steadfast and patient no matter how tired I become. When I feel like giving up, remind me of the amazing plan you have for my life.
Thank You for letting me know You are always near me, and teach me every day new ways that I can make Your Name great.
I know You are for me, and You will never leave me hanging.
In Jesus’ Name,
View today’s sermon, “This Will Not Get the Best of Me ” by Bishop Rudolph McKissick