Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Change Can Come Quickly

Today is Wednesday. The Wednesday of what we have come to know as “Holy Week.” Now, the people of 1st century Jerusalem did not call it that. They did not know what was about to happen. We have the advantage of 20/20 hindsight. What were the people of Jerusalem doing today? They were going about their usual routine. They went to work. Smiths were making all sorts of implements out of iron, silver, or gold. It could be a plow for a farmer or a necklace for a lucky lady. Men tilled their fields. Carpenters made furniture. Stone masons built or repaired homes and protective walls. Women went to the market to purchase groceries and baked bread.

The first century family ate two daily meals, either in the home or in the field. The first meal which “broke their fast” was eaten in the late-morning, as a break in the workday. It could include some roasted grain, olives, figs or other fruit. There may also have been some bread dipped in olive oil or vinegar, or eaten with garlic, onions, or black radishes for flavor, as well as water or wine. In the Book of Ruth, we come across an example of a typical meal. “At mealtime Boaz called to [Ruth], ‘Come over here, and help yourself to some food. You can dip your bread in the sour wine.’ So she sat with his harvesters, and Boaz gave her some roasted grain to eat. She ate all she wanted and still had some left over” (Ruth 2:14). The main meal of the day was the second meal. It was eaten in the evening. There would be bread that had been baked that day, as well as soup or a stew of vegetables or legumes. This was served in a common pot into which everyone dipped their bread. On occasion, there may be cheese and fruits (such as fresh figs and melon when in season), as well as dried fruits. To drink there was again, water, and wine, although milk could also accompany this meal. In this particular week, families were also preparing for the coming Passover Seder meal.   

I mention all of this to divert your attention a little. As I painted this picture, I will bet you forgot that two days from now, Jesus will be crucified. That was intentional. Just for a moment, you were not thinking about Holy Week. You were thinking about lunch maybe, but not crucifixion. These people certainly were not. 

They were unaware that Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians, were plotting ways to assassinate Jesus and His good friend Lazarus (for having the audacity to be raised from the dead!). They could not have known Judas was recruited to betray Jesus. That He was going to be arrested and brought before Pontius Pilate to be condemned to death. They had no idea how quickly things were about to change.

That can happen in our lives too. In a quick moment, a driver runs a red light and slams into your car. The doctor gives you a diagnosis of cancer, or worse, your child. Planes fly into buildings. Bombs go off during a Marathon. A tornado. A flood. A mass shooting. Yes, life can change in a moment.

I say this not to create fear. Fear is not of God. As Paul tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). I do not want you worrying that a meteor may come crashing through the atmosphere and land on you today. That’s ridiculous. I am saying that things can change in a moment. Even Jesus’ return will be in an instant. In the blink of an eye everything will change. 

That’s why we need to be prepared. One cannot wait until they are moments away from death to be in a relationship with Jesus. It is important to do so now. While there is still time. If you know someone who is not, please share the good news of Jesus with them. Those of us who have been born again, who have confessed our sin and accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have no reason to fear. We are the beneficiaries of what happened on Good Friday, and especially what took place on Easter Sunday. Our hearts are not troubled. We are saved! Jesus has already prepared a room for us in His Father’s home.

My friends. Enjoy this Wednesday. You have no need to worry. God loved the world so much, that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Besides, as Jesus asked, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life” (Matthew 6:27)?       

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