Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Pastor Lars Janssen
A friend of mine recently expressed his gratitude for the sense of anticipation that accompanies enjoyable events in life. We discussed how we associate this positive anxious feeling with vacations, holidays, seeing friends, special events, and even getting to eat food we enjoy. In a matter of moments, our conversation turned to the great anticipation—eternity with Jesus.
There is a triumphal sensation to knowing that all of history will turn out to the glory and praise of our Saviour (see Philippians 2:10). When we rejoice in this reality and settle into a deep-set sense of resolve because we are in Jesus, as Pastor Jeremy reminded us on Sunday, the great anticipation becomes almost unbearable.
And yet, we don’t always have that sense, do we? Sometimes we grow dull, but the work of God is anything but dull. Read how Isaiah appeals to God’s people in Isaiah 52. The train of thought is both powerful and unexpected.
“Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion…” (Isaiah 52:1)
We’re called to wake up and be brave because we are God’s people!
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…‘Your God reigns.’” (Isaiah 52:7)
Sharing the great anticipation we have in Jesus is our greatest privilege!
“Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up and shall be exalted.” (Isaiah 52:13)
Yes! Jesus will be exalted and, as we are overwhelmed by the great anticipation of experiencing this reality, we are drawn into a resolve to follow Him anywhere!
“As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—so shall he sprinkle many nations.” (Isaiah 52:14-15)
What was that?! What happened to the triumph? Surely we aren’t following Him into being marred beyond human semblance, are we? But we are! Because we are the nations He sprinkled with His blood. We are the ones saved by the salvation of our God! And read the result of this victory through death; this triumph through unmeasured suffering:
“Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.” (Isaiah 52:15)
Our great anticipation is founded in the one act of power that overwhelms all argument. Even society’s influential people will one day be silenced when they see that the one we hated loved us enough to die for us—and then destroyed death by the power of his “indestructible life” (Hebrews 7:16).
Now we get to be like Him to everyone around us—anticipating eternity in every current agony. The wonderful effect of this great anticipation is that the joy of the Lord burns in the hearts of His suffering people. As we suffer, we pray and praise and share. We look ahead knowing the cost is worth it—the anticipation is justified!
Central family, next time you’re looking forward to something, tell someone about your anticipation. Then remember the great anticipation and tell them about that too!