Some of us met together tonight (Wednesday), and we had a good time talking about some of Jesus’ last words, about standing firm until he returns (Luke 21). We also sang and prayed together, and encouraged one another.
This Sunday, our church meeting will be at the regular time, 5pm. Our baptism celebration at 4pm will not happen this week; it is being postponed. J—— would like to be baptized, but an unexpected opportunity came up for him to be with his family this weekend. I expect we’ll reschedule our 4pm service in two weeks, when we can hear his testimony and also take the time to commit our missionaries. I also think those traveling during the next week will be back together by then.
Prepare for worship together. Spread the word. If you are in town Sunday, please invite your friends and neighbors to come with you. Please bring a small dish of food to share for our special dinner.
During our meeting tonight, we prayed for you too. These have been difficult weeks for many of us, and you may be wanting to hide, or you may have entered into “survival mode” (= just makin’ it through the day). Do you wish you could fly away? Maybe you would agree with David’s desire to escape (Ps. 55:6–7):
Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest—
I would flee far away and stay in the wilderness…
David’s circumstances were too much for him to bear. One of David’s close friends had betrayed him (verses 12–14). David had a glimpse of what it was like for Jesus to be betrayed by Judas during this Passion week (the week in Jerusalem before the resurrection; “passion” = suffering).
You also participated in that betrayal. Jesus Christ made you and knows you intimately. Yet, you sin whenever you choose or desire anything other than his righteous path. Your poor choices and desires result in guilt and shame. You cry out to God for salvation from your situation; Jesus cried out on the cross for your salvation from sin. So is it your cry or Jesus’ cry to the Father that brings your salvation? Should you read this psalm like you are David or like his friend-turned-enemy?
Jesus is both David’s son and his superior (Lk. 20:41–44 — another Passion week teaching). King David was a shadow of Jesus Christ, the true King and the true sufferer. He endured the shame of the cross, the curses of the people, the sins of the world, the spit, the flog, the thorns, the pain, the death. The people had declared him guilty and condemned him like a criminal. But God has declared him innocent… by raising him from the dead!
The charges against Christ do not hold up… he is justified! Now anyone who trusts in Christ will be united with him intimately (no matter what situation you’re in or what you feel like). Whatever weighs you down will be brought upon Christ, and it will not hold up, because he is proven innocent. And whatever is true of Jesus Christ will be true of you… you are justified, you are acceptable, you are a son to God! Oh, what sweet exchange!
The Bible is a collection of stories of righteous people falling in terrible ways. You know that it is also the greater story of how God saves us through his Son, Jesus. God will not allow his Son to fall; he looks at him and has the greatest, strongest, most glorious love toward him and his body, the church. Therefore, we actually can be like David, who was also a sinner, when he said (Ps. 55:22):
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
You will not find rest by flying away and hiding. David knew that; so do you. So did Jesus, in fact, because he knew this psalm and lived it. Now Jesus stands before the Father. Fly to Jesus. There is rest and joy for your souls today.