Paragons of Faithful Expectation
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. – Mark 6:30-44
See how the mighty have fallen! This is no prediction of the US Elections being held today…specifically. But this truth applies to all people, great and small. Powerful and weak. There will come a day when every knee shall bow to Jesus Christ, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The mightiest king. The most powerful emperor. The strongest president. The most ruthless dictator.
It even happened to Jesus’ closest followers. Look at the turn of events recorded above. They start with a report of stunning and exciting success. Jesus takes them on a retreat. But as soon as they retreat, they are followed by the people who wanted and needed Jesus’ attention.
Then the fall begins. From the glory of a successful mission trip to a series of fails. A misguided suggestion: Send the people away. A faithless unwillingness to obey, Shall we blow more than a half-year’s wages for bread for this crowd? Then comes their participation in a miracle beyond their imagination.
Perhaps they’re not goats after all. But take a peak some time later. Jesus has to ask how they will feed a smaller group of people in the wilderness (Mark 8:1-4). They may not be goats in the sense of Matthew 25’s account of the final judgement. But they are certainly not paragons of faithful expectation.
Of course it’s not our righteousness that recommends us to God. Faith, however, finds pure goodness in God, perfect trustworthiness in his promises, and mercy, grace, and forgiveness in Jesus. He is the glorious one, and will ever be so. He is the foundation of all our faithful expectations.
Jesus alone is my righteousness that solely recommends me and makes me acceptable to God. Thanks be to God for His unearned and undeserved Gift.