Day 39: Rise, Let Us Be Going
When Jesus returned from His third season of prayer, His demeanor had clearly changed. He had prayed through the question of God’s will and had been answered with a confirmation of what God had planned, and with the strength He needed to face what laid before Him. For the third time He had roused His sleeping friends and their state was the opposite of His. While their naps may have refreshed their bodies a bit, that rest had done nothing to prepare them spiritually for the shock that awaited them.
That’s the thing with opportunities for preparation—they eventually come to an end. Winter comes, and whatever was not sown, or tended, or harvested in spring and summer and fall is not there as a resource when the growing season is done. Or the hurricane comes, and the last minute preparers find the shelves empty, and the gas stations dry. Or the test day arrives, and the indolence of the entire semester sends shivers down our spines. Life is full of these situations, where suddenly there is no more time to get ready. The command comes, “Rise, let us be going,” and it’s ready or not, here I come.
Whatever preparation time the disciples had was now past, so Jesus bid them, “Rise, let us be going.” They had no idea that a familiar face would soon greet them and stun them with his treachery. They had no idea how soon Jesus’ prophecy of the scattering would be fulfilled. They had no idea that all the talk about Him being killed was no mere turn of phrase. Jesus knew all this, but rose to face it with courage because He had prepared while there was still time.
Spurgeon says, “What true courage is there in those words, ’Arise and let us go hence!’ when He knew that He was going to go to the cross…You are clear that He went willingly, for since a single word made the captors fall to the ground, what could He not have done? …There was no power on earth that could possibly have bound the Lord Jesus, had He been unwilling.”
We, like the disciples, have no idea when Jesus will say to us, “Rise, let us be going.” He may rouse us to face troubles, persecution, or death. We can’t see what lies ahead. All we can do is decide here and now whether He will rouse us from sleep, distractions or neglect, or from a concentrated time of watching and prayer to which He calls us. Will we be like the foolish or the wise bridesmaids when the Bridegroom comes? Will we be diligent to prepare while we can?
• What times in your life have you come to a sudden realization that prep time was done, but you’d missed the opportunity? How did you feel?
• When you looked back did you see the missed opportunities? How did it make you change how you operated? (Or did it?)
I’ve had that sick feeling in my gut of missed opportunities, realizing You’d tried to prepare me, but I’d failed to pay attention. Help me to learn from my failure, and take advantage of any seasons of preparation You give me.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries