Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Rest of the Story

“When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Mark 14:26

Radio personality, Paul Harvey, did much in his long career as a radio broadcaster. Yet, I would have to say that Harvey was best known for the radio show, The Rest of the Story. The show began broadcasting regularly in May of 1976 and continued until Harvey’s death in February of 2009. The Rest of the Story consisted of stories presented as little-known or forgotten facts on a variety of subjects with some key element of the story (usually the name of some well-known person) held back until the end. The broadcasts always concluded with a variation on the tag line "And now you know the rest of the story.”

In today’s Bible verse Jesus has just finished bringing the Lord’s Supper to his disciples in the upper room. Once that was over, they sang a hymn and departed for the Mount of Olives, which we know is where Jesus prayed while his disciples fell asleep and Jesus was arrested there and taken to appear in the temple.

As we consider the rest of the story, that time between the singing of the hymn and Jesus appearing in the temple of the high priest, what kind of things come to mind? Are we disappointed in the disciples? Perhaps – they said they’d stay faithful but, in the end, they fled. To be honest, we probably would have too, had we been there. Besides, when we sin, isn’t that just like fleeing from Jesus?

When we think about Jesus praying in the Garden, do our hearts ache for him? He knew what was coming, asked that it be removed, but deep down, he probably knew that his sufferings and death were inevitable. To think, it wasn’t even his own doing that put Jesus in this position. It was the sin of the world, including yours and mine.

As we ponder these and other parts of the rest of the story, we should keep in mind the last thing Jesus said to those who came to arrest him: “But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” When man first fell into sin, God promised a Savior. Throughout the Old Testament, there’s prophecy of this Savior who would give up his life for the salvation of all people. Jesus is that Savior and, if he didn’t fulfill what Scripture said about him, there would be no salvation for the sinful human race.

It is God’s greatest will that all people would be saved. Since we can’t do it on our own, God sent Jesus to become the perfect sacrifice. That means, God didn’t take the cup from Jesus. Instead, Jesus would go on to bear our sins on the cross. But, the cross wasn’t the end. Neither was the tomb. Jesus would rise from the dead and all who believe in him have forgiveness and eternal life. A hymn; a prayer in the garden; a betrayal; an arrest; disciples that fled; an unfair trial; a crucifixion; a death; a glorious resurrection; salvation for all who believe. Now you know the rest of the story!

(A special thank you to my husband for sharing portions of his sermon for this evening, to be used in this devotion.)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, we thank you for Your sacrifice on our behalf. Lord, help us to focus on You, on Your passion, on Your gift of forgiveness and salvation. Forgive us for the times that we flee from You. We praise and thank You for not fleeing from us in our greatest needs. Amen.

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