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A Year Through the Gospels: Week 4

January 30, 2016

Darryl Sluka


This is the fourth week in a year long series.  You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.

Mark 14:27–31  You Will All Run Away

“Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will run away, because it is written:   I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. 

But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away, I will certainly not!” 

“I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times!”

But he kept insisting, “If I have to die with You, I will never deny You!” And they all said the same thing.”

The disciples all desired to stick with Jesus until death, but none of them were able to do so until the Holy Spirit came and gave them the conviction they needed to do so.  Jesus’ arrest and trial was the most direct persecution they had witnessed since being with Jesus.  As we see with the disciples, it is easy to be overcome with fear and deny our savior when we experience this level of opposition for the first time.  Peter did not follow behind and attend Jesus’ trial with the intention of denying his association with Jesus.  He was jolted by the level of hostile opposition that he suddenly found himself facing.  Fear overcame him in the moment, and he acted in a way that he never intended.  Furthermore, he ran away from there and wept over what he had done.  After the Holy Spirit comes in Acts, we see Peter and the rest of the disciples acting very differently in the face of hostile opposition.  They no longer retreat and hide; instead, they accept what happens to them and continue to preach the Gospel anyway.  Remaining faithful to our convictions in the face of hostile opposition becomes much easier when we come to accept and expect that type of reaction to the Gospel.

Luke 1:67–2:38  Prophesies about Jesus and John

“Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and provided redemption for His people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets in ancient times; salvation from our enemies and from the clutches of those who hate us. He has dealt mercifully with our fathers and remembered His holy covenant— the oath that He swore to our father Abraham. He has given us the privilege, since we have been rescued from our enemies’ clutches, to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness in His presence all our days. And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:67-79)

“Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: 

Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples— a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:28–32 HCSB)

“There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,and was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers.At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:36–38 HCSB)

Both John and Jesus had people prophesy about who they would grow up to be.  John” father, Zechariah, seemed to understand the role his son would play in God’s plan for salvation.  It is remarkable that God revealed knowledge about them long before their ministries even began.  John’s father was a priest, and Jesus had two people prophesy about Him at the Temple.  We are always a little confused as to why God did not boldly proclaim who Jesus was to the religious leaders; he who was the voice of one crying out was born to a priest, and prominent people in the temple testified that He was the Messiah within the complex.  Their arrival was announced if anyone was willing to listen.  Why were the prophecies of Simeon and Anna not given to the chief priests and scribes?  Most likely, Simeon and Anna were God’s most faithful servants, and it is possible that they were the only ones who legitimately had a heart for serving God in the Temple.  God’s plan was revealed, and He revealed it to those who faithfully served Him.

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