I’m Not Going to Tell You Again
Mary and I said it to our kids, or more accurately, I said it to our kids because my wife is much more consistent and she expected our kids to get it the first time. Listening to our daughter this past weekend in Alabama, with three young sons, raise her voice and say, “Now, I’m not going to tell you again, ” brought back all those child-raising memories. Who enjoys repeating the same instructions again and again?
After more than forty years of pastoring, there is a cold-hearted part of me that begins to say “I’ve told you this over and over again. Go ahead and mess up your life if you don’t want to pay attention and listen!” But then in Matthew I see Jesus repeat Himself again and again as He tried to prepare His disciples for the events of Good Friday and Easter.
“As they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to His disciples, ‘The Son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and He will be raised up on the third day.’ They were greatly stressed out over this.” Matthew 17:22-23
This is the third time since Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Messiah where Jesus clearly tells His disciples that He will be crucified and then rise from the dead. His point is to prepare them for the climactic events in Jerusalem. Yet, when He gets arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, they all split and Peter, his lead disciple, denies Him three times. So much for the effectiveness of Jesus’ teaching.
Before I decide that Jesus was an ineffective teacher and that I should stop repeating what He has taught me, I need to remember that these same disciples who ran in the Garden went on after Pentecost to spread the message of the cross and resurrection throughout the Roman world. Today I need to believe that the Spirit of Jesus might take my repeated biblical instructions and transform someone’s life.
LORD, help me remember that I often don’t get it the first time. I need your repetitions. Thank you for graciously not giving up when I don’t get it the first time. Help me to keep repeating your truth even when I don’t see evidence that my audience is getting the message.
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