The Scriptorium

The Goal in Sight

Stay focused. Matthew 20.17-19

Matthew 20: Calvary in Sight (3)

Pray Psalm 34.1-3.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

Sing Psalm 34.1-3.
(Alleluia [Lowe]: Mighty God, While Angels Bless You)
I will bless the Lord at all times; I shall praise Him evermore!
My soul makes its boast in Jesus – Him we gladly all adore!
         Refrain v. 3
         Magnify the Name of Jesus!
         Let us lift His Name in praise!

Read Matthew 20.1-19; meditate on verses 17-19.

Prepare.
1. What did Jesus confide in the disciples?

2. Did He tell this to all the people who were following Him?

Meditate.
Matthew tells us that Jesus “took His twelve disciples aside on the road” to tell them about what was going to happen in Jerusalem. We might wonder: Why didn’t He just tell everyone? Why was it so important that the disciples alone should hear these sobering words?

Jesus wanted them to keep focused on the business at hand, which was His work of redemption. The crowds were fickle. They loved the miracles, the free meals, the healings, and His casting out demons. They would celebrate with rejoicing His entrance into Jerusalem in just a short while. But they would turn on Jesus and cry for His death when they had to make a choice between Him and religious leaders. Had Jesus disclosed these next steps to the crowds, there’s no telling how they might have responded. But His disciples needed to know. They needed to keep focused on the real reasons for Jesus’ coming – His great work of redemption on the cross. And they needed to prepare themselves for the fact that while this would be a beautiful work of Jesus, accomplishing it would not be pretty.

Jesus shows us how to live the life of faith in these times. Keep the end in sight. Jesus knew He would rise again, and He understood all that implied. The joy of that, set down before Him, enabled Him to bear all the rest (Heb. 12.1-3). We need to keep the end in sight as well: a joyous day of resurrection is coming, followed by eternal life with Jesus in the new heavens and new earth. With such an eternal prospect before us, what could cause us to dismay or lose hope?

At the same time, be realistic about the journey. Jesus knew that some hard times were just ahead – shame, suffering, betrayal, crucifixion, and the grave. But in the light of the resurrection, He could endure the cross, despising the shame, and go with joy to fulfill His purpose. Jesus did not promise us an easy road as His disciples. He said we would be hated. We can expect persecution. Spiritual forces of wickedness will try to distract, defeat, and destroy us. But if we keep focused on the long-term promise and hope, we can bear up and endure no matter what this world throws at us.

The disciples, of course, would falter. But when Jesus rose again, His victory would refocus them on their proper goal, and they would never lose sight of it. We must not lost sight of it either, but persevere through whatever comes our way to be with Jesus in glory.

Reflect.
1. What is your practice for keeping focused on the resurrection to come?

2. How can maintaining such a focus empower us to persevere in Jesus through hard times?

3. Jesus encouraged His disciples with this word. How can we encourage one another to keep focused on the coming resurrection and glory?

Therefore, though a great crowd of the faithful followed him on the road, he took only the twelve disciples apart in private and to them alone announced the mystery of his death, because the more precious treasure is always stored in the better vases. There were many men with him, but they were weak on account of the smallness of their faith.
Anonymous, Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 35

Thank You, Lord, for the promise of resurrection. Keep me focused on it today as I…

Pray Psalm 34.8-20.
Praise God for Jesus’ sacrifice, and for His mighty resurrection and Kingdom.

Sing Psalm 34.8-20.
Psalm 34.8-20 (Alleluia [Lowe]: Mighty God, While Angels Bless You)
Taste and see how good is Jesus; blessed are all who in Him hide.
None shall lack for any blessing who in Christ will e’er confide.
         Refrain
         Magnify the Name of Jesus!
         Let us lift His Name in praise!

Though the beasts succumb to hunger, all who seek Him all things have.
Listen, children, I will teach you how to fear Him who can save.
         Refrain

Who loves life?  Who longs for goodness?  Keep your tongue from evil ways.
Turn to good, from wicked wand’ring; peace pursue through all your days.
         Refrain

For the eyes of Jesus ever look to meet His people’s need.
Though He stands against the wicked, He will hear us when we plead.
         Refrain

When for help we cry to Jesus, He will save, for He is near.
He delivers us from trouble, for He holds us ever dear.

         Refrain

See the Righteous as He suffers: God will save Him from His pains.
All His bones He keeps through suff’ring, every one, intact remains.
         Refrain

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore