“Then the day for the feast of Unleavened Bread came, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover for us to eat.’” —Luke 22:7–8
The critical and decisive point of Jesus’ life had arrived and He tells His closest disciples to “Go and prepare.” Why is it that oftentimes we do not take advantage of the opportune moment? For me, the critical moment is when I am asked about my faith and I stumble and trip over my words leaving my listener with no greater understanding of who Jesus is. Sometimes I miss an opportunity to teach the truth to my children because of my all too important busyness—robbing me of intimacy in my family life. I am sure that you can name your own ways of not making the most of every opportunity.
The Bible tells us:
“Therefore consider carefully how you live—not as unwise but as wise, taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.” —Ephesians 5:15–17
Have you noticed that many times we just get one chance? Some opportunities only present themselves one time. While Paul tells us we are not to dwell on the past losses or mistakes, we are to strain toward what is ahead in this race called life:
“Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead, I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are ‘perfect’ embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.” —Philippians 3:12–16
Let’s be honest, the greatest gift in human history was about to be accomplished for mankind and the disciples were unaware. The prophets had foretold it, Jesus had spoken plainly to His closest confidants about it, and still, the disciples were, for the most part, unprepared.
I am reminded of Jesus’ appearance to two of His followers after His resurrection as they walked along the road to Emmaus. Unaware that it was Jesus, they were disappointed and confused:
“Now that very day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. While they were talking and debating these things, Jesus himself approached and began to accompany them (but their eyes were kept from recognizing him). Then he said to them, ‘What are these matters you are discussing so intently as you walk along?’ And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened there in these days?’ He said to them, ‘What things?’ ‘The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene,’ they replied, ‘a man who, with his powerful deeds and words, proved to be a prophet before God and all the people; and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. Not only this, but it is now the third day since these things happened. Furthermore, some women of our group amazed us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back and said they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him.’ So he said to them, ‘You foolish people—how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures.” —Luke 24:13–27
It is important that we pay attention to the right things in order to see what God has for us!
“If you wish to know God, you must know his Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by his Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.” —C.H. Spurgeon
“Our God is a God who not merely restores, but takes up our mistakes and follies into His plan for us and brings good out of them.” —J. I. Packer
“Real trust in God is above circumstances and appearances.” —George Muller
“We mustn’t doubt in the darkness what God has shown us in the light.” —Robert J. Morgan