James and John, brothers and disciples of Jesus the Messiah, probably had a difficult time comprehending all that they saw in the time leading up to entering Jerusalem. Now, as they leave the upper room on the night Jesus was betrayed, they may have been even more bewildered. They heard that Jesus was going to be betrayed. Jesus told him that he was to suffer and die. In fact, Jesus broke bread and passed the cup of wine, saying “This is my body and this is my blood.” I can only imagine what must have been going through their minds. In this ongoing series, I take a look at what James might have said as he was leaving the upper room.
“So, all that Jesus has been talking about lately seems to have finally arrived. When he first told us that he must come to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise again — I just didn’t get it. I didn’t want to believe it. I had so many dreams of who the Messiah ought to be – who the Messiah needs to be — a conquering hero to re-establish the kingdom of Israel.
But I must admit, my mind is swirling right now – mainly because of what I would call a mountain-top experience I just had. Jesus led Peter, John and I to a remote place on top of a mountain. I can’t reveal everything now, but the experience confirmed for me that Jesus is the promised Messiah and he is doing everything the Old Testament prophets said he would do with the full approval of God. I still don’t understand, but I must trust that God’s ways are better than mine. If the end result is what I saw – Jesus in all his glory – than I know the end result is going to be good. It is going to be very good.
Just two nights ago, I joined Jesus sitting on top of the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. We had been marveling earlier at the massive stones of the city walls when Jesus said there will come a time when all these walls are going to be destroyed. That shook us up a bit. So we asked, Jesus, “When will this happen? What will be the sign of your return?” And he told us to always be on your guard. Be watchful so that you will not be deceived. There will be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famine which will mark the beginning of the end. There will be false teachers and many who will claim to be the Christ – but don’t believe them.
He basically told us to not let our security be placed on man, on building up riches, or protection behind what seems to be impenetrable walls. Everything you possess can be gone in a flash; in a moment; in a twinkling of an eye. Nobody knows the hour or the day of his return. But whatever happens, no matter how difficult it may be, the most important thing is to be ready.
Yes, my heart is troubled. I’m scared. This is not what I expected when I became a disciple of Jesus. I will not allow myself to be deceived by appearances or difficult circumstances. Even thought it appears that Jesus may be defeated, even destroyed, I trust his words that he will rise again in power, glory and honor.”