Awaiting My Invitation

After a very traumatic weekend with the death and resurrection of Jesus, Luke 24:13-25 tells us about two disciples of Jesus who started to head home from Jerusalem to Emmaus which was a seven-mile journey. As they walked, they were having a debate about the events they had experienced.

At that moment, Jesus approached them and began walking with them to their village.  He asked what they were discussing and that led to what I am sure was a profound discussion!

As unfathomable as the details are related to who Jesus is and what his death and resurrection accomplished, I was intrigued by a secondary issue in verses 28-29 which says,

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them.”

It appears that the two disciples had reached the turnoff for their home and Jesus acted as though he would go on alone without them.  Why would Jesus do that? Why would he give the impression that he was going to continue on his journey?

Jesus was giving them the chance to express their desire to want to know him better rather than assume that was true or force them to spend time with him.  As a result, these disciples responded to his action by taking the initiative to continue their discussion by inviting him to their home. 

What does this tell us about Jesus?

Jesus does not force himself upon any of us.  He has made a relationship possible for all of us but he awaits our invitation to pursue and develop that relationship.  He wants a relationship with those who want one with him.

Klaus Issler describes this concept when he says,

Perhaps God could have designed humans so that our hardware and software programming would cause us to love him, so that we would automatically love God whether we wanted to or not. Yet what permeates a friendship relationship is a voluntary and mutual decision for each other. God could have a made a toy factory in which all believers mechanically proclaimed prerecorded praises. Pull the string and we chirp in unison, “I love you, God,” “I thank you, God.” But a genuine relationship must be entered into freely and not under coercion of will.[1]

Father, you want to have a relationship with me and have provided for that possibility at great personal cost. Thank you for helping me see that you are always waiting for my invitation to develop my relationship with you. I do want to know you better and ask that you would help me do that.  Let me not take you for granted and enable me to make you a priority in my life.

Following Jesus with you,



[1] Klaus Issler. Wasting Time with God: A Christian Spirituality of Friendship with God (Kindle Locations 1432-1435). Kindle Edition.


“Friend” Are You Sure?

In preparation for Good Friday, I was reading in Matthew 26. I was struck by the word Jesus chose to describe Judas when he betrayed him. It is a familiar story. Judas had agreed to give the authorities Jesus in exchange for money. When Judas and the mob approached Jesus, Jesus said,

Friend, do what you came to do.” (Mt 26:50)

Are you not puzzled that Jesus would use the word “friend” to describe Judas? How could he use such a word?

Unfortunately, in English, we only have one word to describe associates. The Greek is more specific. Jesus uses the word philos to represent his real friends. Notice the following example:

“You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jn 15:14-15)

Jesus did not use the word philos, “true friend” when he talked with Judas. He used another word, hetairos. What is the difference between these two words?

“The study of the word hetaíros causes us to conclude that it could not be used as synonym with phílos, a true friend who seeks the other’s good. Hetaíros is one who only projects his own interest. The inference, therefore, is that hetaíros means a selfish acquaintance, one who seeks his own interests above the interests of others.[1]

So what does this word choice mean in the confrontation of Jesus and Judas? Zodhiates continues his insight by saying, “the Lord called him hetaíre, indicating that while Judas was giving Him a kiss pretending that he was a friend, all he was interested in was the thirty pieces of silver. Therefore, the meaning of the word is a person who attaches himself to another for what he can get out of him, a leech or a phony friend as we would say in our culture today, a selfish comrade.”[2]

Isn’t the Bible amazing?! Jesus’ word choice reveals the true intent of Judas,  I can only imagine that such a term used to describe Judas would be condemning for him to hear. Jesus understood his motive for following Him. Judas only followed Jesus for personal gain.  He had not embraced Jesus as Savior and God. Even so, and for our benefit, Jesus allowed this betrayal to happen!

Father, may I be a true friend of yours. One who seeks to do your will for your benefit and not selfishly try to use my relationship with you for my own interests. Help me to live in constant fellowship with you.

Following Jesus with you,



[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] Ibid.

Decisive Moments

As we all know, we are living in a time where there is a great amount of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.  Much of this is because we have never experienced the current circumstances in which we find ourselves.  Where can we go for hope and guidance?  Fortunately, the Bible is a timeless book that God has given us and covers enough history that it has very practical things to say for a time such as this.

This morning I was impressed with the way David responded to great difficulty in his life.  In fact, he says in Ps 31: 9,

“I am in distress!” (NET)

Many of us today are echoing the words of David.  In his situation, he had people seeking to kill him.  He was in danger and he felt it.  His situation impacted all of him.  His emotions were aroused, and he was alarmed because of the danger surrounding him and he was not afraid to tell God about it.  The question for us today is how do we respond under the pressures of life as it is impacting our emotions?  We should not ignore how we feel, instead, we need to follow David’s example and talk to God about it.

After expressing himself to God, in Ps 31:14-15 David shows us how he chose to respond to his circumstances.  He says,

But I trust in you, O Lord! I declare, ‘You are my God!’ You determine my destiny! Rescue me from the power of my enemies and those who chase me.” (NET)

The grammar in that passage is very emphatic.  To help clarify the meaning here, this passage could be understood to say,

Contrary to what one might expect under the circumstances, I do not despair, but I surrender in trust to the hand of God” . . . naming Yahweh as the only source of hope.”[1]

Even though his circumstances were screaming for him to panic, David chose not to despair and instead, he chose to trust God with his life regardless of the outcome. Like David, we must choose surrender and trust rather than despair.

Gerald Wilson makes a great observation about this passage when he says,

Underlying the psalmist’s surrender is an understanding of life as made up of a series of DECISIVE MOMENTS in which a person can take either appropriate or inappropriate direction, depending on how he or she responds to the circumstances. One response is to seek to control and manipulate the situation to one’s advantage. That is clearly what the psalmist’s opponents are doing. The other way is to surrender one’s personal will to the power and authority of God…”[2]

Like David, you and I are at a DECISIVE MOMENT in time. Will we stress and try to control, or will we simply surrender our will to God’s and trust him?  Together, let’s choose to yield to his leadership and trust him.

Father, my tendency is to try to make things happen when circumstances are not going as I expect.  I know that I must do my part, but when that is done, I need to surrender and trust in you as my God like David.  Into your hand do I commit my life.  Help me to live as someone who is trusting you with my life especially now.

Following Jesus with you,



[1] Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms, vol. 1, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 532.

[2] IBID, 532.