March 12, 2014

Finishing Well

Mark 14:46-50

Everyone deserted him and fled.
—Mark 14:50


The Bible includes many stories in which God’s people start out well but end up forsaking the way of life and truth.

Jesus calls twelve followers to be his disciples. They learn from him and follow his ways. They even go out two by two to spread the good-news message and do miracles. But in the end Judas betrays Jesus, Peter denies him, and all the other disciples flee and hide.

There are also some women who faithfully follow Jesus from Galilee. But when he is arrested, they too hide in fear. Jesus’ disciples and other followers all turn out to be discipleship failures.

If you read about the leaders of God’s people in the Old Testa-ment, you find that King David began as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). But when he became powerful, he gave in to adultery and murder and lost his kingdom to Absalom (2 Samuel 11-15). David’s son Solomon began as the wisest king Israel ever had, but when he married women who worshiped other gods, his heart turned from God, and the kingdom split apart (1 Kings 3; 11-12).

These figures serve as examples to prod us to faithfulness and perseverance. Will you stay devoted to God for your entire life and never flee from following Jesus? That is God’s call on our lives, and his Spirit gives us the strength to be faithful.

Jesus, you were faithful to the end and were finally vindicated in your victory over death. Father, give us the perseverance of your Son, our Savior. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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