From Amazed to Afraid

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Without Purse or Script” by Liz L. Swindle

Read and reflect on Mark 10:32-34.

Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed, they were afraid. Mark 10:32 NKJV

Jesus was walking into a lion’s den. The disciples knew the Pharisees were just waiting for a chance to get rid of Him. They’d witnessed the many times the Pharisees had tried to trap Jesus. And they’d heard the words of warning Jesus had given them twice before: That He would suffer terrible things when He went to Jerusalem, be rejected by the religious powers that be, and be killed. And He’d rise from the dead.

They knew danger lay ahead, but there was no convincing Jesus to stay out of Jerusalem. They couldn’t fathom it. Their sense was to protect their Master, to keep Him with them as long as possible. Why would He knowingly go to a place where death awaited Him? They were amazed not only that He dared to go but also that His steps were firm, His attitude resolute.

Amazement was nothing new to the disciples. It had been a daily occurrence for the three years they’d followed Him, lived with Him, learned from Him. But their amazement turned to fear as they drew nearer to the “City of Peace.” Did Jesus want to die?

Yes. He had to, for only the sinless Lamb could become the sacrifice needed to take away our sins. This wasn’t what they signed on for three years earlier when Jesus invited them to follow Him. They thought He’d set up His kingdom and they’d be the bigwigs. James and John even asked to sit on either side of Him—the places of highest honor. How little they understood!

Isn’t the same with us? When we first decide to follow Jesus, we’re excited, amazed, hopeful for what’s ahead. Then things don’t turn out the way we expect. Instead of reward for our sacrifices, for our good deeds, we get trials and troubles. Like the disciples, we don’t fathom the eternal significance of our decision or of our daily choices. We don’t want to wait for our rewards. We want to enjoy them now. We follow Him in amazement at first, then as the road gets steeper and we begin to understand the real cost of following Jesus, the fear sets in.

The remedy for fear is to do what Jesus did: Focus on the Father. Like Corrie ten Boom said: “Never be afraid to trust the unknown future to a known God.”

Never let the amazement of following You dwindle, O Lord. Keep my face set to Jerusalem. Amen.

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Fools and Fun

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” –Psalm 14:1 NIV

A British television station once broadcast a documentary about “spaghetti farmers” and how they harvested their crop from “spaghetti trees.” The film, however, was an elaborate April Fools’ Day joke and wasn’t to be taken seriously.

The harmless pranks played on the unsuspecting, such as telling someone his shoe is untied or a spider is in her hair, are all in fun, and falling victim to an April Fools’ Day joke doesn’t mean you’re a fool, but that you’ve been fooled. There’s a difference.

A fool, by definition, is someone who lacks common sense and wisdom. These are the people for whom the day is named. 

Until 1582 the New Year was observed around the spring equinox, at the end of March, with an eight-day celebration that culminated on April 1. But with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day was moved to January 1. Back in those days, communication was slow, and it took several years before everyone was on the same page. 

Some, however, adamantly refused to change and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. These stubborn folks were called fools and became the target of mean-spirited jokes meant to harass them. 

Being a fool is no fun and is dangerous to your spiritual health. In biblical times, calling someone a fool was the worst thing you could say about him. 

According to God’s Word, a fool is a person who doesn’t believe in God, refuses to be taught, hates knowledge, has a quick temper and a quicker tongue, is impulsive and reckless, doesn’t take sin seriously, spreads slander, doesn’t learn from his mistakes, trusts in himself, insists he’s right, isn’t money-smart, despises discipline, refuses to correct what’s wrong, and is a bad influence. 

Today, even with an explosion of knowledge at our fingertips, fools abound. A fool isn’t someone who lacks knowledge but rather one who refuses to use it.

The remedy for foolishness is wisdom, and all we need to know in order to be wise is found in God’s Word. Reading it, meditating on it, and applying it to our lives prevents one from being an April Fool all year round.

 Dear God, sometimes I act like a fool. Give me the desire to read Your Word consistently and absorb it so that I may be wise. Amen.

 Read and reflect on Matthew 7:24–27.

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018, Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.