We have an inspiring, indeed, heart searching set of stimulating chapters today; it is doubtful there is another set of readings like it in the whole year. We might be inclined to overlook the lessons in 2 Chron. 20 with its detail of Jehoshaphat’s desperate prayer – and its dramatic answer. The Moabites and Ammonites combined as “a great horde …” but a prophet is sent to tell him, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD … Do not be afraid … the LORD will be with you.” [v.15,17] Is there not a parallel in this, to some extent, with the experiences awaiting us in these very last days?
Then, our next reading is the well-known 2nd ch. in Daniel – and it is evident to us we are living “in the days of those kings (when) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” [v.44]
And finally we have the marvellous last 2 chapters of John’s gospel, his intimate account of the resurrection of Jesus and his appearances to prove he is alive. When he appears to the disciples, Thomas is absent. When the others testify to him they have seen the Lord, he declares, “”Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” [20 v.25]
We could say the same, yet we believe – what is the foundation of our belief – of our convictions? The events of history make no sense unless the resurrection happened – leading to the wonderful transformation of belief and hope that spread through the ancient world. The disciples changed from being a frightened group of distressed men – into the very opposite! They were totally committed for the rest of their lives.
John in particular wrote of his inspiring experiences, finishing with 3 very meaningful epistles. How challenging is his conclusion of ch. 20 today! His point is challenging! “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Let us “believe” and speak and act in ways which show this – every day.