“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!” (John 12:27, NLT).
Recently, I’ve been reading Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. The premise of the book is that successful leaders influence loyalty to a product, movement or idea because they communicate why their organizations exist. According to Sinek, knowing your why is more important than knowing what you do or how you do it. And, knowing your why will help you know what to do and how to do it.
So, apply this on a personal level. What’s your why? Why do you exist? Why do you do what you do?
In a conversation in John 12 that Jesus had with some of His disciples concerning His impending death, He seemed to be very aware of His Why. He knew exactly why He existed and why He did what He did.
“This is what the Lord says: Look, I am presenting to you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live and will retain his life like the spoils of war. For I have turned against this city to bring disaster and not good—this is the Lord’s declaration. It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, who will burn it down” (Jeremiah 21:8-10, HCSB
King Zedekiah of Judah was depending on Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt to defeat Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent one of his officials, Pashhur, and the priest, Zephaniah, to the prophet, Jeremiah, to ask him to foretell what the outcome of the Zedekiah’s rebellion against Babylon would be.
“This is what the Lord says: Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, NLT).
God, through the prophet Jeremiah, chided the people of Israel and Judah to repent and warned them of the terrible consequences that awaited them if they refused. He admonished them to follow the tried and true ways of God’s laws, which would lead to rest for their souls.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:26-28, NLT).
We often try to comfort someone who is suffering or grieving by quoting a phrase in vs. 28: “all things work together for good.” In the middle of tragic circumstances these words may provide little consolation to the one who is hurting. And the sentiment may even seem to trivialize one’s loss or grief (It’s almost like saying be happy because this bad thing happened to you.)
“For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” Isaiah 64:4, NLT).
To the prophet Isaiah, the plans and purposes of God were formulated outside of His creation–in other words, without the help of human wisdom.
“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe. Then Agrippa said to Paul, Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily? I wish before God, replied Paul, that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am—except for these chains” (Acts 26:27-29, HCSB).
In the book, The King Jesus Gospel, Scot McKnight contrasted how the gospel was presented and what was the message preached by the apostles with how we present the gospel and what we preach today.
The Apostle Paul’s presentation of the gospel to King Agrippa in these verses provides a good example of this contrast.
“I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable or from teaching it to you in public and from house to house. I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God” (Acts 20:20-21, 27, HCSB).
These declarations are from the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the elders of the church at Ephesus (vs. 17-38).