(Today’s post by Tim David)
I love Thanksgiving…I’m just going to begin by saying…this is a day that I love! I love it because the expectation is good food, family, and some catching up what’s happened throughout the year. Setting aside some really good “eating” years, one of my best Thanksgivings I can remember was 2005. Weston was just about a year old and I had been given the gift of life that year. Earlier that year, I had been diagnosed with Stage 4, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My prognosis was I had about 2-3 months to live, they just needed to do a bone marrow scan to confirm. Judy and I didn’t know that the hematologist I had been sent to was an oncologist specializing in Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Regrets of wasted time washed across my mind. Sure, I had married by high-school sweetheart and I was the father of an incredible boy, but I would never see him grow up…throw a baseball with him…watch him grow into the man I knew he could be. I elected to not have the scan and wait to see what my white blood count would be a couple weeks later. Needless to say, my blood count came back up and the doctor’s weren’t able to tell me what happened. That Thanksgiving was definitely one I will always remember…I had been given life.
During the three weeks I had to wait between blood tests, I started making preparations for my departing. I started by writing a letter to Weston explaining all I knew to tell him about life. I then started making a checklist of everything that needed to be done and said before I left this earth. I am in no way comparing myself to Jesus, but this passage starts Jesus’ final speech. In just a few hours from now, the disciples would lose the relationship they’ve had forever!
Jesus’ first item is love. His command is for the disciples to “Love each other. Just as I have loved you…” Let’s remember this group fought over who was going to be first in the kingdom, who was going to sit at Jesus’ right/left hands, etc. If this disjointed group of guys who had nothing in common but Jesus could come together, then Jesus’ work could continue. Peter, full of blind faith and bravado, tries to prove his love by expressing his desire to be with Jesus only to follow with further proof of his love in offering to die for Jesus. Jesus doesn’t doubt Peter’s love, but knows his love still needs maturing.
Jesus’ second item is trust. If the disciples didn’t trust in Jesus or God, then Jesus’ work would fail. These are the guys who had the most access to him and his teachings. The key to this trust, was the concept that God was in Jesus and Jesus did God’s work therefore they couldn’t do this on their own, they had to trust that Jesus could fulfill the promise of bringing them to Himself.
Jesus’ third item is belief. The disciples had been conditioned to seeing with their eyes then believing Jesus. Jesus needs to get the concept across that they are going to have to believe in Him in order to continue. Their strength and ability to continue the work will come from their belief in the ability to continue the work. Belief is the concept of putting trust into action. Simply trusting Jesus would have led these guys to hang out and never share the truth they knew.
I can attest that when life has a definitive end, logic gets really clear. There isn’t a wasted moment, because each moment is too precious. My 2005 Thanksgiving was definitely special, but no more special than the moment I realize what I have in Christ. Christ thought of you, Christian, when He knew His time was soon over. His final instructions, while not more important than any other instruction He gave, were a summary of the collective experiences He and the disciples had together. I am thankful I have a God who demonstrated Love, Trust, and Faith – allowing me to live a full life. There is no greater gift than life, and Christian you have that for eternity!