Difficult Obedience

Devotional II

“So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.”

– Matthew 26:19

As they traveled along the road to Jerusalem, the disciples asked Jesus where He wanted the Passover prepared. It was a time of remembrance and a celebration of what God had done for the Nation of Israel. The disciples anticipated what the Lord would want and then asked. Jesus then gave them specific instructions, and they were obedient to them.

The disciples knew Passover was coming and needed to be prepared. They knew Jesus would have the best place already selected. It was not too much of a stretch to have some foresight on what was to be done. They could see ahead to the preparations that needed to be done for the celebration, which probably made them feel somewhat in control of the situation. Although they were obedient to the commands of Jesus, it does not seem to me that obedience here was too difficult to follow. After all, it was something they anticipated, and they wanted. When the Lord’s words are ones that we expect and are favorable towards us, obedience to His instructions is generally done with ease.

Unknown to the other disciples, the plot to kill Jesus was already set in motion with Judas’ involvement. As the other eleven ate and sang worship to the Lord together, Jesus decided to close the evening with prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is here that Jesus tells the disciples they will all fall away from Him because of the circumstances that were about to take place. At that very moment, Jesus’ words no longer became true to them. In fact, the disciples argued against Jesus. Peter argued the most!

I find it interesting how the disciples went from complete obedience to the Lord’s instructions to complete disregard for His words in such a short period.  What can make a life descend from the height of fellowship with the Lord in one minute to the depths of the denial of Him and His word the next? I believe it is incomplete obedience and half-heartedness.

As believers in Christ, we have promises made to us. When they are favorable to us, we have a tendency to anticipate them, ask the Lord’s favor towards us, and stand on those promises with ease. Obedience then seems to flow naturally. But what about those words of the Lord that promise difficulties? What about those areas in our lives that Jesus speaks to us about that challenge us? Should those commands be followed any less?

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