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Friday, May 11, 2018

2018.05.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 14:27-31

Questions for Littles: When they arrive at the Mount of Olives, whom does Jesus say will be made to stumble (v27)? Because of whom will they stumble and when? What happens to the Shepherd? What happens to the sheep? Who will go before them to Galilee (v28)? What did Peter say would not happen, even if everyone else was made to stumble (v29)? What does Jesus say to Peter will happen before the rooster crows twice (v30)? How does Peter respond (v31)? Who else responded the same way? 
In the Gospel reading this week, the last supper has been eaten, the hymn has been sung, and Jesus and the disciples are at the Mount of Olives.

This is the point at which the Lord Jesus decides to tell the disciples that they are all going to stumble. This is the point at which the Lord Jesus decides to tell them that while He, the Shepherd, is being struck, they the sheep will abandon Him and scatter.

What is the Lord doing? Well, one thing He is doing is letting them know that their forsaking Him won’t be a surprise. He knows it is coming. It is written in Scripture. They are, after all, sheep. It is beyond their capability to lead themselves.

But another thing that He is doing is pointing those sheep away from themselves and back to Himself. When we stumble, the tendency is to get fixated upon how we have failed and how poorly we have done. But to fixate upon ourselves is itself a failure.

What Jesus does here is say, “Even after I die, I am still your Shepherd. Death cannot stop me. I will rise again. When I rise again, follow me to Galilee.”

And isn’t He doing something similar for you, dear believer? Don’t you see here that your failures never surprise your Master? He already knew you were going to stumble. And He loved you and gave Himself for you anyway. It has never been about how well you would come to serve Him in this life. It has always been about Him being your Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep.

Even if our stumbling is one of pride—having thought that we had everything under control—let us not be surprised. For, it was not just Peter but all eleven faithful disciples who “said likewise” in their pride (v31).

Our patient Lord knew even that we would be proud. It is, after all, why He was determined to go to the cross the next day. He did it to take upon Himself, instead of us, the penalty that we deserve for all of our sins.

But He has risen. And He has gone before us. Not just to Galilee but to Glory. And, as He says in John, if He goes, it is to prepare a place for us, and He will return again to gather us.

Whenever we stumble, dear believers, let us take our eyes off of ourselves, fix them upon Christ, and renew our zeal in following Him!
In what way(s) have you stumbled recently? How will you now set eyes back upon Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP51A-B “God, Be Merciful to Me” or HB282 “God, Be Merciful to Me”

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