Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

March 2020 Issue

Facing Uncertain Times, Volume 2

From the Current Issue

Loving Resolve

Loving Resolve

Last month we looked at how the prophet Daniel and his three friends faced an uncertain future as captives in Babylon. This month, we fast forward about six centuries to see how another prophet, Jesus of Nazareth, faced an uncertain future in His day. And next month, we will look at our own uncertain future and apply what we’ve learned in February and March.

You remember that Daniel and his three friends faced life-or-death moments: Daniel in the lions’ den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in a fiery furnace. When looking at Jesus’ own life-or-death moment—when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and made to stand trial before the Jewish and Roman officials—I find a marked similarity between Jesus and Daniel and his friends.

Jesus’ strategy for facing an uncertain future in first-century Galilee and Judea was the same as Daniel and his friends in Babylon.

In all three situations—Daniel’s, his friends’, and Jesus’—none of them used force to resist their captors. They did not lash out verbally or resist physically. Instead, all three manifested the theme of this month’s Turning Points—they manifested loving resolve in the face of an uncertain future.

You read last month how the four young Hebrew men resolved lovingly to do God’s will in the face of possible death. But what about Jesus—how did He do the same?

Not surprisingly, Jesus’ loving friend Peter became an object lesson. When a detachment of Roman soldiers entered the Garden of Gethsemane, seeking to arrest Jesus, Peter stepped forward to defend his Master. Having with him a sword, Peter drew it and swung at the servant of the high priest who was with the soldiers. He struck a glancing blow that severed the right ear of the servant! (John 18:10-11)

This was Peter—proactive, impulsive, immature in faith—acting on his own. Nowhere do we find Jesus instructing His disciples or followers to “bring in the Kingdom of God with the sword.” In fact, He reminded Peter and the others of the kingdom ethos that He had lived out in front of them for three years: “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

Had Jesus not been facing a determined posse of Roman soldiers, He might have reminded His disciples of what He had taught them just a few hours earlier: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). And that was not just love for fellow disciples. It was love for enemies as well (Matthew 5:44-45).

We can learn how to face uncertain times in our world by studying His world, His words, and His works as evidence of His loving resolve.

Jesus’ strategy for facing an uncertain future in first-century Galilee and Judea was the same as Daniel and his friends in Babylon—and it must be ours as well: Face the future with loving resolve. What does that mean—“loving resolve”?

First, resolve. When we face opposition to God, directed at ourselves or others, we are obligated as Christians to remain faithful, to remain committed, to remain unwavering in our faith. We know this from the entire New Testament, especially chapters like Hebrews 11 where stories are told of those who overcame challenges to their faith, even persecution. They remained faithful in the face of an uncertain future.

Next, loving resolve. The way of the world is to resist, to defend, to fight back, even to attack when we are accused or accosted for our faith. And that is not always easy. It takes greater faith to maintain loving resolve in the face of uncertainty than it does to use carnal methods to resist or fight back. Yet this is what Jesus did and what He teaches us to do. It doesn’t mean we don’t provide a reasonable answer for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15). But it does mean that we do so lovingly, keeping the kingdom traits of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” as priorities (Romans 14:17).

            So how do we live with loving resolve? By the end of this month’s magazine you’ll see how Jesus did. His world was as uncertain as ours from a human perspective. Every situation He faced has a parallel in our world. We can learn how to face uncertain times in our world by studying His world, His words, and His works as evidence of His loving resolve. 

 

This Month's Magazine Resource

Answers to Questions About Living in the Last Days

God’s Word offers answers for living in the Last Days, and now Dr. Jeremiah shares those answers with you, in this convenient, brand–new, topically organized, Q&A-format book.

Learn More »

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