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Posts Tagged ‘#inthisworldyouwillhavetrouble’

That said, unfair seems a rather over-used word, for those of us who are Christ-followers, in today’s vernacular.

I have rolled my eyes, shook my head, furrowed my brow and even written letters to government leaders, when I have seen and heard of unreasonable actions and inactions.

Everything from antagonism over saying Merry Christmas, seasonal light displays and whatever other acts of political correctness that get our Christian knickers in a knot.

“In this world you will have trouble.”

 Jesus had different expectations on what it was to live a life as a follower of … him. He knew that those who followed him would be following a dead man walking.

His days were numbered, he knew that full well. Soon he would be praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to take the cup from his hands.

The long-expected Messiah was expected to be the king who would undo the injustices of the political leaders of the day. He would put everything in order … ensuring that his people would be able to take their right places in society (aka, on top).

Yet, if we look at the prophesies, we see clearly that the arrival of the Messiah was not going to be a love-fest:

“He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Isaiah 53:3

Not only was Jesus not creating an army, but he was actually asking something intimate of people. He was asking those who had been anticipating his arrival, who were looking for an earthly saviour, the ones who had lived a life of being unfairly treated in their society, to be humble, to confess their sins:

” … the kingdom of God is at hand:
repent you, and believe the gospel.

Mark 1:15

Jesus’ reign, as king, had little to do with power and a crown and a throne … he reigned wearing a crown of thorns, from a wooden cross, from an empty tomb. The inequity of his reign is that we sin (not just back-in-the-garden-of-Eden past tense, but today, every day in the very real present), and he died, so that we get to live an eternity.

“In this world you will have trouble.”

When Jesus said those words (above), he didn’t stop there … with a message of doom and gloom. 

In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

His reign is in our hearts, something that those who came before Jesus never had available to them. We are not victims, we are overcomers, through the blood of Jesus. We have so much! And that which is a struggle, we do not struggle with alone.

Yes, there are things that should sadden and even outrage us. We should write, call, email and text our government officials, for we are citizens here and that is both our right and responsibility. 

But, we are not victims!

We are children of the king, “and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

“The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned 

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

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john-16-33

They took palm branches and went out to meet him,
shouting,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
John 12:13

The triumphal entry of Jesus the Christ into Jerusalem was a day of celebration, a day of joy and hope … but it preceded so many other events.

Hosanna preceded Jesus prediction of his coming death. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say?” (John 12:27).

Hosanna preceded Jesus announcement that one would betray him … sharing in the bread itself. “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:21).

Hosanna preceded Peter vowing to lay his life down for Jesus, and Jesus declaration that before the light of day, he would deny him not once, but three times. “Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:38).

Hosanna preceded his arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion and death.

Today, in Egypt, over fifty have been killed, over one hundred have been killed, in two attacks.

“The blasts appear to have been timed for maximum impact, as people gathered to mark Palm Sunday. It is one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, marking the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.” (BBC)

The people, the Christ-followers, arose to sing hosanna.

Hosanna preceded the trouble.

Before fulfilling his passion for us, Jesus reminded us of the reality of life, of a life of following him:

In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33

Hosanna precedes the trouble. But the trouble precedes the glory.

On the day of his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, Jesus foretold his own fate, but also the fate of those who would follow him:

“Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
(John 12:23-28)

May God be with those in our world who are suffering troubles. May they, once again, sing Hosanna.

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It was Benjamin Franklin who is credited for saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

but he was wrong …

no, not wrong …

but what he said was incomplete.

john-16-33

Experiencing childhood in the 1970’s, I was subjected to the music my mother listened to. One of the songs I remember hearing frequently was sung by Lynn Anderson (and my mother), called “(I Never Promised you a) Rose Garden.”

I expect that we all love life when it is good, when it is easy, when health is good, and loved ones are loving, and there are a few bucks in our wallet, and we have simple pleasures in our days. What we forget is that those things are not certainties, not guaranteed, not promised to us.

The words of Jesus, the Christ, were spoken to his followers, as he was preparing them for their lives, after his own Earthly demise. He knew not only the trouble that was just around the corner, for himself. He also knew that there would be a life-time of trouble awaiting his followers (and all who would follow after them).

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Not an encouraging prophetic message, coming from the God of all hope!

But there is not only doom and gloom in this foretelling.

The verse begins with the offer of peace, a peace that goes beyond placards and marches, guns and war. He offers a peace that passes all fleshly understanding. A peace that mysteriously can happen right in the middle of trouble. It is, in a sense, our spiritual bullet vest. Oh, we will still feel the impact of the trouble, but it cannot mortally pierce our soul.

Then, the verse ends with hope.

“take heart! I have overcome the world”

What he is saying is,

I have fought the fight, I have worn the scars of your trouble, I have defeated death in the pit of hell. And he said it all before the triumphal entry, before Gethsemane, before the scourging and the cross.

He knew the troubles that would bomb our lives. But our troubles, to him, were worth the troubles that he would experience in the days to come.

Though our lives exist with the guarantee of troubles, we have the hope that he has overcome the world, and because of him, we truly can face tomorrow.

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he brings;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

Chorus
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

 

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