Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 14:1-15:22, John 18:1-24, Psalm 119:97-112, Proverbs 16:8-9
As the end of May approaches, I’m thinking back to the start of the month, when I wrote about focusing on faithfulness, righteousness and justice as themes. Throughout the month, I have looked for these themes in the scriptures and have ended up focusing mainly on how central belief is to our relationship with God – that we must first believe and then other things will follow.
The story in II Samuel is all about palace intrigue that can be traced back to David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his neglect of his children. In this passage, we see the failings of both David and his son Absalom. Somehow the failures of the heroes of our faith bring me comfort when I consider my own failures. They also give me even more confidence in the authenticity of the Bible – the flaws of people like David, Moses, and even Abraham are on full display.
John 18 is all about the path to the cross – Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, Jesus before the high priest. I love the passage in John 18:4-6 where the soldiers and the mob drew back and fell to the ground when Jesus said, “I am he.” Did the soldiers start to wonder who they were up against at that point?
4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
5 “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) 6 As Jesus said “I am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground!
Throughout the path to the cross, Jesus remained faithful to His Father’s calling.
The reading in Psalm 119 also speaks to belief or faithfulness. In verse 112, the Psalmist said, “I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.” This is a statement of insistent commitment by someone who was wholehearted in following God. And Jesus demonstrated this same determination for our sake as he stood before the high priest.