Before the rooster crows ...

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

This is probably one of the most famous passages in the bible and perhaps in all of literature. Who cannot relate to weeping bitterly when we fail spiritually? Who does not occasionally hear the crow of the rooster when we sin? Such is the result when we put our trust in the flesh. I can relate to Peter's boasting. Many times we do not understand how difficult it is to overcome temptation and make statements that we wish we had never said. Such is the broken state that Peter finds himself as he denies the Lord.

Peter, like all of us, needed the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. It is so interesting to see the change in Peter and the disciples in the book of Acts after the Holy Spirit came on them. All of a sudden these disciples no longer cowered behind closed doors. Consider what Peter said before the same tribunal that tried Jesus when Peter thrice denied him:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
This man who cowered at the questioning of a servant girl now waxed bold in front of those who had condemned his master to death. This turn around is simply amazing and speaks to the influence of the Holy Spirit on Peter and we ourselves. This speaks to me of inability to live by the flesh and our need to be filled each day with the Spirit of God.

Fill me afresh Lord. My flesh is weak. I need your powerful presence in my life.

You will see the Son of Man

Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. ... At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”

But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

Court is in session and the religion of man is on trial. Ironically the religious elders believe that they are the ones in power and they are the ones with the authority to pass judgment. Such is the way that religion works.. such is the seduction of the religion of man.. such is the dark pride that takes captive the minds and intents of men called by God to care for the souls of mankind.. such is the setting of this trial that takes place in the middle of the night when most are sleeping.. such is the end of all who exalt religion over God.

Jesus would have no part in this trial - he remains silent before this evil tribunal until the top judge asks him a direct question concerning his identity. The answer Jesus gives is called blasphemy because he identifies himself as an equal to God himself. Yet he does not stop there. Jesus proceeds to speak of a day when he will sit as judge over those who sit in judgment that very day. Yet these hypocrites respond in a very nasty fashion. Such is the ways of religious hypocrites who exalt themselves instead of God.

Help me not to judge with fleshly motives Lord. Fill my heart with grace.

Have you come out as against a robber?

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Darkness has descended on the garden. God the Son is being mistreated and manhandled. Things are being done in darkness that would never survive the scrutiny of light. Jesus confronts this darkness as he speaks of the cowardice of those who would take him captive. He speaks of how they would not confront him when he taught in temple but now come under cover of night. The darkness of the heart of man is on display.

Jesus also speaks of prophetic scripture being fulfilled. In light of this I cannot help but think of these two verses from the prophet Isaiah:
Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter..
By oppression and judgment he was taken away..
John the Baptist watches from Heaven as his words begin to take form. In a moment the Lamb of God will begin his journey to slaughter - and no one, save Jesus, has a clue.. not one observer understands the magnitude of the moment. THE LAMB OF GOD IS GOING TO BE SLAUGHTERED!! He who came in peace is treated like a criminal and all of creation groans. Darkness has descended and the Lamb of God is the only light shining.

Now my heart is breaking Lord. How could all of this happen. I repent.

All who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

The revolution has begun and the followers of Jesus are prepared to fight with their Messiah as the soldiers once fought with King David, the ancestor and prototype of the man who stood before them. This was the hour of victory that they were all waiting for.. this was the time when the Son of God would vanquish his enemies and ascend to David's throne. For three years they had waited for this moment.

But Jesus puts a stop to the revolution. He speaks of legions of angels and of scripture being fulfilled. Jesus was ready for what was to come.. he had prepared himself in prayer.. he had already won the battle on his knees. Yet his disciples did not understand because they were carnally minded - when it was time to pray they slept instead. The battle ahead could not be won with swords - spiritual battles never are.

Lord, help me to pray when I am tempted to sleep. My spirit is willing.

My betrayer is at hand.

And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”

The thought that comes to me as I read this is "With friends like these who needs enemies?" Before the betrayer comes all of Jesus friends sleep - not one can stay awake with him in this hour of need. None of his friends could help him wage spiritual battle in prayer. When crisis comes Jesus stands all alone. And this crisis comes in the form of a kiss. I cannot imagine how the heart of Jesus broke as he saw Judas walking towards him.

Jesus certainly knew and experienced disappointment that day. I cannot imagine the thoughts that went through his mind. In a matter of moments all of his friends would run and forsake him. These who he lived with every day for three years would abandon him. I want to find something redeeming in this moment for God but I cannot. I want to end this meditation on something positive but all I can see is Jesus standing in the garden with a broken heart.

I am so sorry for all of the times that I have broken your heart Lord. Please forgive me.

Let this cup pass from me

Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

If you ever wondered whether God understands what it is like to be fearful and could relate to your anxiety then wonder no more. Knowing the painful fate of scourging and crucifixion every part of Jesus' being is stressed with agony as he prays. He speaks to his friends of being sorrowful to death and in another gospel it is reported that he sweat blood. Every part of him wants to run but he stands firm in prayer. In a small way I can relate to this passage.

A month before my first wife Ellen died I found myself racked with pain and anxiety. I had been praying for her healing for years and she was not any better. That day I prayed a prayer similar to the one in this passage. I released Ellen into the hands of the Father and said that whatever He wanted was OK with me. It was one of the toughest prayers that I have ever prayed. Prayers such as these always are because they involve trust.

Praying these kinds of prayers can be so hard when we understand that God's will may involve personal loss and pain. Yet these prayers dig deep into what it means to trust the Lord. In times of great pain and struggle it takes courage to trust the Lord with the outcome and simply ask for his will to be done. Perhaps if the disciples understood the events of the coming hours they would have not slept but supported Jesus with their prayers?

Not my will but yours Lord. Let your kingdom come and your will be done.

You will all fall away because of me

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like to hear those words. Put yourself in the setting and try to imagine yourself as one of the disciples - perhaps you would be thinking these thoughts as Jesus and Peter exchanged words:
What is going on? The mood was sweet - we had just sung a hymn. Why was Jesus saying that we would all fall away? I hear Peter speak about staying true to our Lord and I am in agreement with everything he says. I will never deny Jesus.
How could any of them know what was coming? How could Peter know that Jesus would not allow him to use a sword when the enemy came? They were all ready to fight but did not understand the terms of engagement. And such is the state of many to this day.

Following God has never been about fleshly power. It has never been about fleshly weapons. Following God has always been about unseen power and weaponry. And those who don't understand this risk falling away. Yet, consider what the apostle tells us:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
And maybe that is the message in our gospel passage today. We will always fail when we try to fight spiritual battles with our own power. But when we walk according to the Spirit, using spiritual weaponry, we will be found faithful when the rooster crows.

Give me spiritual eyes to see Lord. Help me to walk in the Spirit.

This is my body ... this is my blood of the covenant

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

In one of the most amazing statements in all of human history Jesus proclaims that his body and his blood signified the covenant that God had made with man. I think that it is so easy to miss this idea when we get caught up in the logistics of communion. Here are a few things we should consider when we come to communion:
  • It is the Lord's table.. it is his body and blood.. we are merely participants together.. we all are equals at his table.. we all come with empty hands.
  • It is a table of forgiveness.. it is in his blood that we hope.. we are merely the recipients of that forgiveness.. we all come needing a touch from the Lord.
  • It is a table of intimacy.. it was one of his last desires to spend an intimate meal with his friends.. we are joined together by his body, his blood and his forgiveness. 
Jesus ends this passage with a promise that he will once again eat this meal with us in the coming kingdom. And in that we hope and look forward with hearts filled with faith.

Draw us close together around your table Lord.

One of you will betray me.

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

A modern day theory purports that Judas was merely forcing Jesus' hand because he wanted Jesus to overthrow the reign of Rome over the Jews. I admit that the theory seems palatable until you read this account where Judas takes money for the betrayal. I may be wrong but when someone gets paid to betray a close friend they prove themselves to be no friend at all.. and their motives do not seem noble at all.. in fact their intentions seem a bit sleazy and not ideological at all. Judas must have been sleeping when Jesus was teaching.

Even so, I wonder what it would have been like sharing a meal with close friends and hear the Lord announce that a betrayer was seated at the table. The reactions of the disciples is so telling - none of them, save one, had a clue what that betrayal would look like. I imagine most of them felt that the betrayal meant that they would commit a sin.. but no one.. no one could imagine that one of their own would betray Jesus to the religious elders that Jesus consistently rebuked. No one, except a greedy man with bad intentions.

As the song goes, my heart is prone to wander. Lord, lead me back to you when I stray.

She has done it to prepare me for burial.

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

This passage could have been one of the great teaching parables that Jesus used to illustrate and accentuate kingdom principles. A few points that I think frame the passage. Firstly, he was gather with his disciples at the home of a one time outcast leper. Secondly, they were seated around the dinner table enjoying a meal together. So everyone was surprised when a woman suddenly poured this expensive perfume on the Lord. Lastly, only one person got it right - only one focused on the Lord.

The contrast between the action of the woman and the reactions of the disciples is very telling. The woman, who probably owned the expensive perfume, could only think of ministering to the Lord. All the disciple could think of was using money for ministry - and they missed out because their focus was not on the Lord. Neither the woman or the men understood the profound significance of the act. Perhaps that is always true when we give? Maybe love is all about ministering to Jesus without knowing the consequences?

Lord, help me to be an extravagant giver and not be concerned about money.

The Son of Man will be delivered up ...

When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

The contrast in these four verses of scripture are so stark when you compare the prophetic understanding of Christ to the evil scheming of the religious elders. On one hand we see a picture of light - Jesus knew what was going on.. he would not be caught unawares. On the other hand the religious elders were operating in absolute spiritual darkness and did not have a clue about what was really going on. The differences are so glaring.

I think that the lessons in this passage are so teachable for us today. When we operate in darkness, hiding behind physical and spiritual closed doors, we foster an environment where accountability and integrity are absent. And God has a way of exposing this kind of darkness in our lives. Over time this kind of scheming, both personal and corporate, always backfires on us as God sees it all and causes our dark deeds to be exposed in his light.

Shine you light on me Lord. Examine me and purge all darkness from me.

Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The way we treat people is so important to God and the way that we shut up compassion in our hearts has eternal consequences. It does beg the question though of why some let compassion flow freely while others damn it up inside of themselves. To answer I give you two Greek words that speak a bit to the human condition:
  • hamartanĊ :: to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), to err, especially (morally) to sin. [see Romans 3:23 for context] 
  • parabasis :: violation, breaking, transgression. [see Romans 4:15 for context]
These two words represent two aspects of a phenomenon that the bible describes as sin. The first (hamartanĊ ) is one that is somewhat representative of our human nature. It speaks to the idea that people who have good intentions often miss the mark, make mistakes and err in judgment. The second word (parabasis) speaks of people with bad intentions who seek to do harm. And it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two.

Yet I believe that Jesus, in this passage, speaks to those who live lives of bad intentions.. people who have suppressed compassion for so long that they no longer understand what it means to be truly human. These are those who do not simply miss the mark. Jesus' words condemn them as he speaks of the way that their hard and selfish hearts have rejected pleas for food, clothing and compassion. To these he speaks words of punishment.

Help me Lord to remember how you suffer with the poor, the sick and imprisoned.

As you did it to one of the least ... You did it to me.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The first thing that strikes me about this passage is the ignorance of those who Jesus calls blessed. These who were going about their daily activities do charitable works seemed unaware that they were ministering to Jesus. In contrast to these I must admit that I was very aware that I was ministering to Jesus during the six years that I ministered in prisons and jails - it was why I visited inmates. As I ponder this passage I wonder about about those years and the reasons why I chose to visit hurting inmates.

When I think about the people Jesus describes in this passage I think about how the gospels report that Jesus was moved by compassion when he saw hurting people. In like manner these, who Jesus call blessed, also seem to be moved by compassion for strangers who are hungry, thirsty, sick and behind bars. Yet sometimes ministering to such people can engage a part of us that has so little to do with compassion. But sometimes compassion arises in us and we touch hurting people. And in doing so we minister to Jesus.

Examine me Lord. Drive ungodly motives from me and fill my heart with compassion.

He will separate people

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

This is the prelude to the famous illustration of the separation of the sheep and the goats. Before jumping into the judgment scene I thought that it would be helpful to make a few observations about the setting.
  • The words glory and glorious sets the scene. When I read those words I remember that I have no context and no words to understand this scene.
  • When I read the word "all" I am overwhelmed. All the angels will be there. All peoples of all times will be there. I cannot get my head around that number.
  • Mankind will be separated. It leaves me speechless. I want this to be a time when mankind is reunited not a time when they are divided.
I am comforted by the idea that a shepherd will separate the sheep and the goats. It reminds me of how Jesus speaks of the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. Such is the qualification to sit on this glorious throne. He who laid down his life now sits in judgment.

Lord, you are my Shepherd. Help me to follow you like a lamb.

You have been faithful ... Enter into the joy

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

A few words stick out to me in this parable - entrusted, property, ability and faithful. Here are my thoughts on those words:
  • The word entrusted speaks to me of responsibility. We each have a spiritual mandate to care for the things that God has entrusted us with. And that responsibility is not to simply maintain but to grow. We are to invest our lives and our gifts in activities that will cause spiritual growth in the Kingdom of God.
  • Interesting that the Master in this parable entrusts his property to his servants. This is an important word because it addresses the concept of ownership. This parable paints an accurate picture of how everything we have is on loan from God. And in the end we will have to give an account of how we used His property.
  • When I think about ability I remember how unique each one of us is. Interesting that God measured out talents commensurate with each servants ability. It speaks to me of how God considered each person -  their gifts, resources and potential when he entrusted them with various responsibilities.
  • I sometimes think that faithfulness is the currency of the kingdom. We grow spiritually, and in other ways, when we are faithful with the gifts,resources and potential that we are given. This parable indicates that, today and in the last hour, this quality is all so important because faithfulness with entrusted property is rewarded the Master.
The response of the Master to his servants when he returns is so telling and instructive.
It reminds me that what we do in this life is important - to God and to us.

Thank you for the gifts you have given me Lord. Forgive me for the times I have squandered them. Help me to be faithful with the things that you have entrusted me with.

The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Don't you love the stories that Jesus shares as he tries to explain future events to folks like us that have no clue what such events will be like? His stories always seem to speak of both future and current day events. In this story the Lord tells us of a group where half are prepared for God's coming and half are not. He uses the imagery of oil in the story and says that the wise had it and the foolish did not. It reminds me of the verses in Proverbs that speak of foolish people who do not believe in God.

Such are people yet today who reveal their foolishness by the way they live in ways that reveal a belief that the Lord will not return and they will not have to answer to God. Jesus teaches us in this passage that living in wisdom is a way that we prepare ourselves for his return. And being wise is not about our intellect or even our biblical smarts. Being wise is a heart condition that reveals itself in humility before God and man. Such are the people who are prepared, and preparing, for his coming.

I am arrogant Lord. Teach me humility that I might be ready for your coming.

Who then is the faithful and wise servant?

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Interesting how Jesus categorizes his servants as faithful and wise. He further explains what it means to be faithful when he says that such servants consistently serve others. He indicates that such servants are wise because they understand that they serve a master who will be faithful to come like he said he would. This speaks to me of the way of a real servant.. one who faithfully serves others as they serve God.

Also interesting how Jesus targets leaders in this passage. When he speaks of those "set over his household" he is speaking about religious leaders then and now. He warns them, and us, of the consequences of mistreating others and of forsaking personal discipline. This rebuke is like those he spoke to the scribes and Pharisees. In this rebuke he indicates that such people are neither wise nor faithful.

Lord, please help me to be faithful and wise in everything I do.