“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (verse 35)
In the midst of describing apocalyptic events, Jesus interjects this anchoring insight. No matter the events swirling around us, his word is sure.
And often events don’t even swirl. For me, so far, heaven and earth look pretty solid. Yes, the challenges of recent history have raised the spectres of nuclear winter and irreversible climate change. Even so, for the most part, we carry on with base-line certainty that our world will be here tomorrow, and the day after, and the next. But Jesus tells us this assumption is ill-founded – what seems most foundational to us right here, right now, will certainly pass away.
Yet his words will always, forever, endure.
This enlivens a number of scriptures which have been anchors for me in recent days. “If you hold to my teaching (literally: ‘abide in my word’), you are really my disciples” (John 8:31). True discipleship involves planting our feet on the rock-solid foundation of his enduring word, shaping life according to his perspective and desires and will, rather than the fading, fleeting atmosphere of the world around us. Of course.
“He has given us his very great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4). These, Peter says, allow us to live in his divine power, which (he assures us) gives us everything we need for life and godliness. This one promise itself is huge, encompassing all of life. But it stretches to embrace the totality of the Lord’s promises, all of which are absolutely sure, enduring, unfailing. So, I tell myself, grab hold and don’t let go. Faith, as someone has said, is finding a promise of Jesus and daring to believe it. Faith, it turns out, is a sure bet.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing … You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14). This is one of Jesus’ words that continues to stretch and challenge, but it will never fail. I may not see the fruit as quickly as I envision, yet Jesus has given me his promise. Neither the swirl of events nor the seeming unassailability of “things the way they are” can compete with the endurance of Jesus’ word.
O Lord, I choose to embrace afresh, this day, the promises you have placed in my heart. Based on your word, they will not fail. So in faith, I press on praying, living, believing, regardless of whether circumstances seem unchanging or life seems precarious. No matter. I have your word.
Reflect: What promise of Jesus has he spoken clearly into your heart? How will you cling to it more tightly today?
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