40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week of Ash Wednesday: Friday)

Friday

Day 3: Were the disciples having hallucinations?

Confession: Psalm 51:9–12

Hide your face from my sins,

and all my iniquities blot out.

Create a clean heart for me, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and with a willing spirit sustain me.

Reading: Mark 9:2–13

And after six days, Jesus took along Peter and James and John, and led them to a high mountain by themselves alone. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothing became radiant—extremely white, like no cloth refiner on earth can make so white. And Elijah appeared to them together with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! And let us make three shelters, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (For he did not know what he should answer, because they were terrified.) And a cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus alone.

And as they were coming down from the mountain, he ordered them that they should tell no one the things that they had seen, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. And they kept the matter to themselves, discussing what this rising from the dead meant. And they asked him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” And he said to them, “Elijah indeed does come first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that indeed Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they wanted, just as it is written about him.”

Reflection

If other men cannot read our motives, we ought at least to examine them carefully for ourselves. Day by day, with extreme rigour, must we search our hearts. Motive is vital to the goodness of an action. He who gives his body to be burned might yet lose his soul if his ruling passion were obstinacy and not desire for God’s glory. Self may be sought under many disguises, and a man may be utterly unaware that thus he is losing all acceptance with God.

We must not impute ill motives to others, but we must be equally clear of another more fascinating habit—that of imputing good motives to ourselves. Severity in estimating our own personal character very seldom becomes excessive; our partiality is usually more or less blinding to our judgment. We will not suspect ourselves if we can help it; evidence must be very powerful before it can convince us of being governed by sordid aims. The stream of generosity does not always spring from gratitude to God. Zeal is not at all times the offspring of deep-seated faith. Even devotional habits may be fostered by something other than holy affections. The highest wisdom suggests that we spend much patient and impartial consideration upon a matter so fundamental as the heart’s intent in the actions which it directs. “If your eye is sincere, your whole body will be full of light” (Matt 6:22). Dear reader, stand by your inner springs and watch, and make faithful notes of what you see, lest you be deceived.

—Charles H. Spurgeon

Springs Uncovered

Response

Do you know yourself for who you truly are? This knowledge is not an end in itself, nor does it end with ourselves. Truly knowing ourselves means we are constantly fleeing to Jesus. Set time aside daily to honestly examine the motives of your heart and then turn to God in prayer.[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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