This week we are learning about the Sermon on the Mount. The setting for this sermon is key to understanding what Jesus is saying.
“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). What “time” is the verse talking about? The answer is in the preceding verse. “But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus” (v. 11). The Pharisees were enraged by Jesus and His teaching, so they plotted to kill Him. Jesus was aware that His time on earth was very limited, so at this time He went off to pray all night.
Have you come to grips with the fact that your time on earth is limited? The inevitability of death produces one of two reactions. One reaction is to eat, drink, and be merry. If this life is all there is, then you should have all the pleasure, recognition, and money you can get, because one day you are going to die. The second reaction, the one that lasts beyond your death, is to invest your life in something that will outlast it. The Bible says there are only two things that will last for eternity: the souls of people and the Word of God. So if you want to have a life that continues after you die, then you will spend your life investing the Word of God in the souls of people. That’s what Jesus decided to do. He decided to instill His teaching in people.
That is what discipleship is all about. Discipleship is spending your limited time on earth helping other people be faithful followers of Jesus Christ by instilling His Word in them. Remember what Paul said to Timothy? Paul knew his life on earth was limited, so he said to his young protégé, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). We need to entrust the message of the gospel to other men and women who will carry on the faith after we die.
That’s exactly what Jesus did. Jesus knew His time on earth was limited. He wanted to pass along His message to twelve men who would spread it throughout the world. He needed guidance from his heavenly Father about which twelve men to choose, so He had an all-night prayer meeting to seek God’s wisdom in making the right choices.
By the way, what are you so concerned about in your life right now that you would devote just five minutes a day to pray for? Is there anything in your life–your children, your work, the health concern of a friend or yourself–that you are willing to spend five uninterrupted minutes a day praying for? Jesus knew how important prayer was, so He prayed all night.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Crux of Christianity” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.