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

Wednesday

Confession: Psalm 6:1–5

O Yahweh, do not rebuke me in your anger,

and do not discipline me in your wrath.

Be gracious to me, O Yahweh, because I am feeble.

Heal me, O Yahweh, for my bones are terrified.

My soul is also very terrified.

But you, O Yahweh, how long?

Turn, O Yahweh; deliver my life.

Save me for the sake of your steadfast love.

For there is no remembrance of you in death.

In Sheol, who will give thanks to you?

Reading: Mark 13:24–37

“But in those days, after that tribulation,

‘the sun will be darkened

and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from heaven,

and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’

“And then they will see the Son of Man arriving in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels, and will gather the elect together from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also you, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the door. Truly I say to you that this generation will never pass away until all these things take place! Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

“But concerning that day or hour no one knows—not even the angels in heaven nor the Son—except the Father. Watch out! Be alert, because you do not know when the time is! It is like a man away on a journey, who left his house and gave his slaves authority—to each one his work—and to the doorkeeper he gave orders that he should be on the alert. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or early in the morning—lest he arrive suddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be on the alert!”

Reflection

O may the Angel of the Lord come upon you, and the light shine into your prison! And may you feel the stroke of an almighty hand, raising you, with, “Get up quickly … gird yourself and put on your sandals … wrap your cloak about you and follow me” (Acts 12:7–8).

… Did not God create you for Himself? Then you cannot rest till you rest in Him. Return, you wanderer! Fly back to your ark; this is not your home. Do not think of building tabernacles here. You are but a stranger, a sojourner upon earth, a creature of a day—just launching out into an unchangeable state. Make haste. Eternity is at hand, and it depends on this moment. An eternity of happiness, or an eternity of misery!

In what state is your soul? Was God, while I am yet speaking, to require it of you, are you ready to meet death and judgment? Can you stand in His sight, who is of “eyes too pure to see evil” (Hab 1:13)? Are you “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you for a share of the inheritance of the saints in light” (1 Col 1:12)? Have you “fought the good fight” and “kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7)? Have you secured the one thing needful? Have you recovered the image of God, even righteousness and true holiness? Have you put off the old man, and put on the new? Are you clothed upon with Christ?

Have you oil in your lamp? Grace in your heart? Do you “love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27)? Is that mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus? Are you a Christian indeed, that is, a new creature? Are old things passed away, and all things become new?

—John Wesley

Awake, Thou That Sleepest

Response

How can you live a life of alertness, ready for Christ’s return? Reread the passage and John Wesley’s questions, and respond to them in the space below.[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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