God’s Steadfast Love
Last Sunday we read the last part of Mark in the devotional we have been reading since the start of this term. We focused on Mark 15:1-33 and when reading through, I found it quite powerful. In this part of Mark, we realise how fickle people can be; those who once broke bread with Jesus, those who shouted “Halleluiah” as He entered Jerusalem now shouted, “Crucify him!” Despite all those that did Him wrong, Jesus still allowed His crucifixion to happen to save us from our sins. Though we had let God down once again, He still sacrificed His only son to save us from our sins.
This would usually be read at Easter and we did focus a bit on it during Holy Week this year, and as I said then, I’ll say it again now, it really hits home just how much we are loved by our Father. We have never been worthy of His love, from eating the forbidden fruit up until the present day, the one consistent thing you can count on from a human beings, is that we will always disappoint Him in some way, shape or form.
Separately from the Mark devotional, I have been doing some Bible study in my own time, and I was reading Deuteronomy 19-21, and in and amongst all the rules God sets out for the Israelites, as He’s hoping they can abide by them while enjoying the Promised Land, there’re little glimpses that show us His original purpose for us on this earth.
“When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.Deuteronomy 20:19-20
God created this beautiful earth for us humans to enjoy and delight in. That was what the Israelites were to do in the Promised Land. As long as they abided by Him, loved and worshipped Him alone, they would want for nothing. Any land they needed, He would fight for on their behalf. He gave us this planet out of His love for us and though we have let Him down over and over again, and will continue to do so, He forgives and loves us still.
The passages from Mark at the Celebration reiterated this for me. No matter what we do, He is still there, He has already saved us and He will continue to love us. He will always make sure we are equipped to deal with the battle ahead. Though people in our lives may turn out to be just as fickle as the crowd calling for Jesus’ crucifixion, He’s always steadfast and faithful, beyond what we can imagine.
While looking at the passage, we worked in small groups to explore the Word and see other perspectives. The main things that came out of my group were:
- What does this story tell me about God?
- He is persistent and won’t take our bad behaviour as final – He still wants to provide for us
- He sacrificed His only son, something most of us couldn’t even comprehend as mere humans, nor do we have to because of Him – He’s serious about His love for us and making sure we are saved
- Jesus was truly human amongst us – He was so vulnerable which makes it quite a hard read
- What does this story tell me about people?
- We’re a fickle bunch that are happy to follow the crowd
- We’re stubborn – despite seeing all the miracles and amazing things Jesus did, we still didn’t believe and want more proof
- Judgemental – even those who had committed murder and were to be crucified alongside Jesus mocked Him too, because they saw Him as foolish
- If this is good and true what am I going to do about it?
- We need to stop running away from God and what He wants us to do – His love will still find us no matter how far we try to run
- We need to come at situations with more love and humility for our fellow (wo)man – none of us are perfect so need to reflect that in how we talk to ourselves and each other
- Know that you are forever loved!
- Who am I going to tell?
- Pray for God to tell you who He specifically wants you to tell and how He wants you to share His news. Perhaps use Listening Prayer to help do this and be open to act on what comes out of that conversation with God
If you get a chance, I encourage you to read this section of Mark and see what it tells you or how He uses it to move you. In the meantime, I’d like to pray based on the prayer Anna closed with on Sunday:
Lord, I pray that you would strengthen me and my faith in you. That even when the going gets tough, we don’t act like Peter who denies you, but in fact, we draw ever closer to you. I pray this for all my brothers and sisters in your name. Let me be consistent in my love for you, in the good and the bad times, just as you love me even in my darkest days. Amen.