40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Four: Tuesday)

Tuesday

Confession: Psalm 90:9–17

For all of our days dwindle away in your rage;

we complete our years like a sigh.

As for the days of our years, within them are seventy years

or if by strength eighty years, and their pride is trouble and disaster,

for it passes quickly and we fly away.

Who knows the strength of your anger,

and your rage consistent with the fear due you?

So teach us to number our days

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Return, O Yahweh. How long?

And have compassion on your servants.

Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love,

that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

for as many years as we have seen calamity.

Let your work be visible to your servants,

and your majesty to their children.

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,

and establish for us the work of our hands,

yes, the work of our hands, establish it.

Reading: Mark 13:14–23

“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be” (let the one who reads understand), “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! The one who is on his housetop must not come down or go inside to take anything out of his house, and the one who is in the field must not turn back to pick up his cloak. And woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! But pray that it will not happen in winter. For in those days there will be tribulation of such a kind as has not happened from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will happen. And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has shortened the days.

“And at that time if anyone should say to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ ‘Behold, there he is,’ do not believe him! For false messiahs and false prophets will appear, and will produce signs and wonders in order to mislead, if possible, the elect. But you, watch out! I have told you everything ahead of time!”

Reflection

But as the Lord Himself says, “Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray” (Matt 24:4–5 nrsv). But see how He has pointed out the judgment of the true Christ: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:27 nrsv).

When, therefore, the true Lord Jesus Christ shall come, He will sit and set up His throne of judgment. Also, the gospel says, “He shall separate the sheep from the goats” (Matt 25:32 [Paraphrase])—that is, the righteous from the unrighteous. As the apostle writes, “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor 5:10 nrsv). Moreover, the judgment will be not only for deeds, but for thoughts also, as the same apostle said, “Their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all” (Rom 2:15–16 nrsv).

—Rufinus of Aquileia

A Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed

Response

Paul says we must take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). It’s easy to focus on the external workings of faith, but what about our thoughts? Do you love Christ with your thoughts?[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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