“[…] But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”
Jesus knew his closest friends were about to run away as he would be taken into custody, but he relied on his relationship with Jehovah to get him through that dark period of his life. (Zech. 13:7; Matt. 26:31)
He had warned his disciples that one day they would face similar trials, but like him, they too could prevail. (John 16:2, 33)
No matter what this crazy world throws at us, when we take comfort in the peace that Jehovah gives us, nothing can ruin our faith. (Rom. 8:35-39; Php. 4:6,7)
“[…] He was at home. And so many gathered that there was no more room, not even around the door, and he began to speak the word to them.”
When I think of Jesus’ ministry, I do not think of him as having people over for brunch, but rather picture him as a wanderer, reaching out to others wherever they were at.
But he did have a home based in Capernaum, which was close to Nazareth, the town he had grown up in. (Matt. 4:13)
What strikes me in this passage is Jesus’ hospitality, even towards those who did not have faith in him. (Mark 2:6,7)
Not only was his privacy overcrowded in an unannounced manner, but some even removed the roof to bring down a paralytic man. (Mark 2:4)
Jesus remained helpful and compassionate as always. (Mark 2:5)
When we in the Christian congregation are encouraged to be hospitable, it is not a suggestion based on culture or personal preference. (1 Pe. 4:9)
The way of hospitality is part of Christ’s example.
“[…] I will put the fear of me in their hearts, so that they will not turn away from me.”
Fear of God is not a morbid fear.
It refers to the fear of displeasing him, just like we would not want to let down someone who loves and trusts us.
It involves having a healthy positive attitude toward spiritual matters. (Matt. 5:3; Acts 13:48)
Jehovah God attracts people to him through Bible truths. (John 6:44)
When we have the right heart condition, we respond to his truths by learning more and drawing closer to him. (Ps. 25:9)
Jehovah thus allows a strong relationship to develop and with it, a healthy fear of displeasing him.
Many of us have found that cultivating such a relationship with our Maker has given life authentic purpose. (Eccl. 12:13)
”[…] Let us bring our case against each other; Tell your side of it to prove you are in the right.”
Would you be audacious enough to argue against God to his face?
Could you really hope to prove anything to the One who formed you and everything else in the universe? (Is. 44:24)
“Woe to the one who contends with his Maker,
For he is just an earthenware fragment […].
Should the clay say to the Potter: ‘What are you making?’ […]
Would you question me about the things coming
And command me about my sons and the works of my hands?”
God Jehovah is constant and unchanging. (Is. 43:10)
Unlike us humans who wear out and may sometimes have a change of heart, God’s purpose endures forever. (Is. 46:10,11)
It would be very foolish of us to stubbornly refuse God’s means of salvation even if there are some aspects of it we struggle with on a personal level. (Is. 43:11; 46:12,13)
God offers the waters of salvation through his written Word to those who humbly leave behind their former ways. (Is. 43:18-20)
“You wrongdoers try to frustrate the plans of the lowly one,
But Jehovah is his refuge.”
Should we find that we will not be able to reach the goals we have set for ourselves in God’s service, we should not become discouraged.
Circumstances change and no one has full control over their own situation.
Not only are we susceptible to our own sinful inclinations, but we may find ourselves to be victims of the wrongdoings of others (Rom. 3:23).
While these factors may have a negative impact in our service to God, they do not impede our being loyal to Him.
Therefore we should continue serving God zealously alongside His congregation to our fullest capacity, because He will continue being our Protector, giving us all we need to be happy (Ps. 37:28; Ps. 145:16; Heb. 6:10-12).
“As soon as I heard these words, I sat down and began to weep and mourn for days, and I kept fasting and praying before the God of the heavens.”
What were the words that caused the Persian king’s cup-bearer, Nehemiah, so much distress?
“The walls of Jerusalem are broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire,” (Neh. 1:3).
The Jews who had returned to the Holy City to rebuild it were not committing to their mission.
Nehemiah received this sad news in the Jewish month of Chislev (mid-November to mid-December) in what would have been the year 456 b.C.E.
He did not request leave from the king to go to Jerusalem and give fresh impulse to the reconstruction until four months later (Neh. 2:1).
Despite his worries, he “had never been gloomy” in the king’s presence.
From this we can learn two things:
Firstly, if our present circumstances do not allow us to serve Jehovah our God to the extent we desire, we can pray to Him for guidance and ask him to bless our efforts to make better use of our time.
Secondly, until we are able to fix our work or personal circumstances to permit greater service, we can face each day with cheer, knowing that we “do all things for God’s glory,” (1 Cor. 10:31).