December 5, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals for December 5-6 (new) are provided by Emerson Lin.  Emerson and his wife Annie (and their son) are serving as AMI missionaries in E. Asia.   

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“Maybe God Has a Different Plan”

Mark 15:6-15 (NIV)

“Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”

In this passage, we see that Pontius Pilate gave the crowd a choice to free any man from prison because it was the Passover Feast. Hoping they would choose Jesus, Pontius Pilate gave them a choice between Jesus and a man named Barabbas, a bloodthirsty revolutionary and a murderer. But to Pilate’s surprise, they chose Barabbas.

So why did they choose Barabbas? It seems like they were disappointed with Jesus. Remember, this was the same crowd that we see in chapter 11 who welcomed Him into Jerusalem. The city was filled with people Jesus had healed: the eyes of the blind had been opened, the deaf made to hear, and the lame to walk. Through these signs and wonders, the Jews started to believe that He was the Messiah, who was to free them from the oppression of the Romans. However, Jesus had a different message—so they rejected Him.

Now, when they saw Him standing helplessly before the Roman governor, they saw weakness. As a result, their loyalty to Him collapsed and, in disappointment, they chose to free Barabbas, a murderer.

Our natural reaction is to become frustrated with the Jews. Why would they choose to free a man who murdered people over a man who brings hope to the world? Yet, oftentimes, we make the same mistake.

Like the Jews, we are often disappointed in God because we expect Him to act in a certain way. Because of these disappointments, we decide to walk our own path and deal with situations in our own ways. We choose Barabbas over Jesus.

However, we are reminded that God sometimes has a different plan for us—and that plan is always good. In this story, God’s plan was to deal with a more detrimental issue than the Roman Empire—He came to deal with sin. 

Since Genesis 3, sin had distorted God’s creation, and He had a mission to restore everything back to its original intent. And we need to remind ourselves of this truth. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

This morning, think about certain situations where the outcome was not what you expected. What was your reaction? Were you disappointed in God? Oftentimes we are disappointed in God because we forget that He truly is a good God. Take a moment to meditate on this truth: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Prayer: Dear Lord, there have been many times that I have been disappointed in You. I pray for a certain outcome, but it doesn’t happen. I get disappointed often because I forget that You are a good God that always wants what’s best for me. Holy Spirit, please remind me that I do not have to fear when my plan is not fulfilled, because I know you have something better in store for me. Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 52


Lunch Break Study

Read Jeremiah 29:10-13: “This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’”

Questions to Consider

  1. Who is the Lord speaking to?
  2. What does this passage reveal to you about God’s character?
  3. What is the purpose of these promises?

Notes

  1. The Lord is speaking to the exiles that Nebuchadnezzar had taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. They were in bondage and the Lord promised to free them after 70 years.
  2. This passage reveals that God has good intentions for you. He can take the bad experiences and turn them into good. Therefore, we can place our hope in Him.
  3. God’s ultimate purpose for us is to have a relationship with Him. 

Evening Reflection

God is a good Father who knows what is best for you. You might be experiencing a situation where things might not be going your way. However, we must trust in the truth that God is good –all the time!

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