Welcome to Tuesday of Holy Week. Jesus spent this day teaching in the Temple area. The Pharisees and Sadducees disputed with him over marriage in heaven, paying taxes to Caesar, and the source of his authority.
Of all the questions he confronted on this day, the one that most stirs me today came from a scribe who asked, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” (Mark 12:28). Jesus answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (v. 30).
We are all familiar with his answer. But I would like us to consider it this morning in light of an insight that has become important to me lately.
The psalmist noted, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). That’s because our Father loves his children and wants us to be with him. In fact, Jesus said that the Father loves us as much as he loves the Son (John 17:26). That’s not because we deserve such grace, but because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This Friday we will remember the cost of his love, as the Father turns from his Son so that the Son can bear the sins of humanity on his sinless soul (Matthew 27:46; 1 Peter 2:24).
Given the depth of his love for us, it is understandable that our Father would want us to be with him in paradise. I want my children and grandchildren to be with me and miss them whenever we are apart. Of course, my love cannot begin to compare with the passion of our Lord for us. He loves us unconditionally and wants us to love him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength in response.
And yet he leaves us here on this fallen planet to face the pain of our broken bodies and the persecution of our broken world. This fact must mean that we have a reason for being here, a purpose that is so significant it is worth being separated from our Father.
You can know that the Lord will not leave you here one moment longer than he must. The instant your calling is fulfilled, you will be called to your eternal reward. When you close your eyes here, you will open them there. Your last breath here will be your first breath there.
In the meantime, you have a purpose for every day you spend on this fallen planet. God has a will not only for where you are but also for when you are. It is by his providence that you are alive right now and not a century ago or a century from now (if the Lord tarries).
Have you submitted your Holy Tuesday to your Father’s holy purpose yet today?