It’s an interesting question as there are many perspectives based on how you know me and where you met me. There are labels that get put on people all the time. Here are some that might get used…husband, father, dad, son, brother, friend, cousin, nephew, son-in-law, producer, media guy, product manager, marketing, advertising, program manager, international guy, Christian, director in training, counselor, staff, deacon, neighbor, coworker, fan, … but can you imagine having to tell someone who you are? Who do you say you are? What do other believe you are?
Let’s take a look into where our reading starts today…
18“I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the scripture must come true that says, ‘The man who shared my food turned against me.’ 19I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that ‘I Am Who I Am.’ 20I am telling you the truth: whoever receives anyone I send receives me also; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
(Matthew 26.20-25; Mark 14.17-21; Luke 22.21-23)
21After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me.” 22The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant. 23One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus. 24Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him whom he is talking about.” 25So that disciple moved closer to Jesus’ side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?” 26Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man.” So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Hurry and do what you must!” 28None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.
–from John 13
Jesus even till the end was living the life and completing the work that the Father had sent Him to earth to accomplish. We have all been created on purpose with a purpose and God has a plan and a purpose for each of us to accomplish and complete. Its a matter of us taking a hold of that and living up to our calling.
8In the same way also, these people have visions which make them sin against their own bodies; they despise God’s authority and insult the glorious beings above. 9Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10But these people attack with insults anything they do not understand; and those things that they know by instinct, like wild animals, are the very things that destroy them. 11How terrible for them! They have followed the way that Cain took. For the sake of money they have given themselves over to the error that Balaam committed. They have rebelled as Korah rebelled, and like him they are destroyed. 12With their shameless carousing they are like dirty spots in your fellowship meals. They take care only of themselves. They are like clouds carried along by the wind, but bringing no rain. They are like trees that bear no fruit, even in autumn, trees that have been pulled up by the roots and are completely dead. 13They are like wild waves of the sea, with their shameful deeds showing up like foam. They are like wandering stars, for whom God has reserved a place forever in the deepest darkness. 14It was Enoch, the seventh direct descendant from Adam, who long ago prophesied this about them: “The Lord will come with many thousands of his holy angels 15to bring judgment on all, to condemn them all for the godless deeds they have performed and for all the terrible words that godless sinners have spoken against him!” 16These people are always grumbling and blaming others; they follow their own evil desires; they brag about themselves and flatter others in order to get their own way.
–from Jude 1
Words have power! Words have power to build up and to tear down! So we need to choose our words wisely! We need to keep control of our tongues before it gets us into trouble. So today choose them wisely! Think before you speak! From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks!
22Can anyone teach God, who judges even those in high places? 23-24Some people stay healthy till the day they die; they die happy and at ease, their bodies well-nourished. 25Others have no happiness at all; they live and die with bitter hearts. 26But all alike die and are buried; they all are covered with worms. 27I know what spiteful thoughts you have. 28You ask, “Where are the homes of great people now, those who practiced evil?” 29Haven’t you talked with people who travel? Don’t you know the reports they bring back? 30On the day God is angry and punishes, it is the wicked who are always spared. 31There is no one to accuse the wicked or pay them back for all they have done. 32When they are carried to the graveyard, to their well-guarded tombs, 33thousands join the funeral procession, and even the earth lies gently on their bodies. 34And you! You try to comfort me with nonsense! Every answer you give is a lie!
–from Job 21
Ever notice the amount of nonsense being spoken these days? Ever noticed the things being talked about and how they don’t align with the truth and reality of things? What will it take for things to get back into alignment? How far down do things have to get before people turn back to God? What will it take before people turn back and a revival kicks into action? Will you be leading the way into a revival spirit for the community you live in? Wondering what you can do? How about starting to pray for your community? You are various roles in the lives of various people in your community, so play the role and cover it in prayer!
Daniel Prays for His People
1Darius the Mede, who was the son of Xerxes, ruled over the kingdom of Babylonia. 2In the first year of his reign I was studying the sacred books and thinking about the seventy years that Jerusalem would be in ruins, according to what the Lord had told the prophet Jeremiah. 3And I prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and sitting in ashes. 4I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed the sins of my people.
I said, “Lord God, you are great, and we honor you. You are faithful to your covenant and show constant love to those who love you and do what you command. 5“We have sinned, we have been evil, we have done wrong. We have rejected what you commanded us to do and have turned away from what you showed us was right. 6We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation. 7You, Lord, always do what is right, but we have always brought disgrace on ourselves. This is true of all of us who live in Judea and in Jerusalem and of all the Israelites whom you scattered in countries near and far because they were unfaithful to you. 8Our kings, our rulers, and our ancestors have acted shamefully and sinned against you, Lord. 9You are merciful and forgiving, although we have rebelled against you. 10We did not listen to you, O Lord our God, when you told us to live according to the laws which you gave us through your servants the prophets. 11All Israel broke your laws and refused to listen to what you said. We sinned against you, and so you brought on us the curses that are written in the Law of Moses, your servant. 12You did what you said you would do to us and our rulers. You punished Jerusalem more severely than any other city on earth, 13giving us all the punishment described in the Law of Moses. But even now, O Lord our God, we have not tried to please you by turning from our sins or by following your truth. 14You, O Lord our God, were prepared to punish us, and you did, because you always do what is right, and we did not listen to you. 15“O Lord our God, you showed your power by bringing your people out of Egypt, and your power is still remembered. We have sinned; we have done wrong. 16You have defended us in the past, so do not be angry with Jerusalem any longer. It is your city, your sacred hill. All the people in the neighboring countries look down on Jerusalem and on your people because of our sins and the evil our ancestors did. 17O God, hear my prayer and pleading. Restore your Temple, which has been destroyed; restore it so that everyone will know that you are God. 18Listen to us, O God; look at us and see the trouble we are in and the suffering of the city that bears your name. We are praying to you because you are merciful, not because we have done right. 19Lord, hear us. Lord, forgive us. Lord, listen to us, and act! In order that everyone will know that you are God, do not delay! This city and these people are yours.”
Gabriel Explains the Prophecy
20I went on praying, confessing my sins and the sins of my people Israel and pleading with the Lord my God to restore his holy Temple. 21While I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came flying down to where I was. It was the time for the evening sacrifice to be offered. 22He explained, “Daniel, I have come here to help you understand the prophecy. 23When you began to plead with God, he answered you. He loves you, and so I have come to tell you the answer. Now pay attention while I explain the vision. 24“Seven times seventy years is the length of time God has set for freeing your people and your holy city from sin and evil. Sin will be forgiven and eternal justice established, so that the vision and the prophecy will come true, and the holy Temple will be rededicated. 25Note this and understand it: From the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until God’s chosen leader comes, seven times seven years will pass. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, and will stand for seven times sixty-two years, but this will be a time of troubles. 26And at the end of that time God’s chosen leader will be killed unjustly. The city and the Temple will be destroyed by the invading army of a powerful ruler. The end will come like a flood, bringing the war and destruction which God has prepared. 27That ruler will have a firm agreement with many people for seven years, and when half this time is past, he will put an end to sacrifices and offerings. The Awful Horror will be placed on the highest point of the Temple and will remain there until the one who put it there meets the end which God has prepared for him.”
–from Daniel 9