Praise God that Jesus was raised from the dead and lives forevermore! Today we close out the gospel of Matthew and Mark with reading about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. I want to focus in on the last phrase of Matthew 28 and the closing phrase of the gospel where Jesus says, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NASB)
Just a few lines earlier Jesus declared that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him and then charges his disciples to make disciples. Concluding his final words he promises them he will always be with them and never leave them. Not only did Jesus promise to always be with his original disciples but he promises to always be with all who follow him. What a comforting truth especially during this season of life all of us are living. Life in general is tough but living as a Christian, a true follower of Jesus, can be even tougher at times. Take heart and remember that you are never alone. The resurrected all-powerful living Christ abides with his people!
Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Matthew 28 & Mark 16
Tomorrow we will finish the other two gospel accounts – Luke 24 and John 20-21 as we continue on our chronological Bible reading plan through 2020.
An important lesson can be garnered from the life of Elijah in chapter 19 of I Kings. If you haven’t dealt with depression yet, there is a good chance you will at some point. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) So how do we deal with depression? I believe all the steps are provided for us here…
1. Sleep – Elijah had just been through a pretty significant experience. He challenged the prophets of Baal and God used him in powerful way. On top of that, Elijah then ran mighty fast for about seventeen miles using the “special strength” God gave him! When we are physically drained everything seems worse. And at this point Elijah was ready to die. “Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.” ( I Kings 19:5)
2. Eat – God knew what Elijah needed. He let Elijah sleep for a bit and then sent an angel with some fresh bread and water. (Food directly from God must taste extra yummy and it was undoubtedly super nutritious too!) Then Elijah slept some more and the angel returned to make sure he ate again so that he would have the strength to keep going.
3. Go to God – The spent and sorrowful prophet headed to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. He needed some quality time talking to God and he poured out his heart to Him. Elijah was lonely. He felt like he was the only one left who wasn’t worshipping Baal. God, in a gentle whisper, told Elijah that it was time to anoint a new king in Israel and a new prophet to replace himself.
4. Remember you aren’t alone – Elijah wasn’t alone. There was a very good man in Abel-meholah that would become like a son to Elijah. There were “7,000 others in Israel who had never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” And whatever trials we may face as Christians, we can be assured that we aren’t alone either.