Faithful to the End

Read: Matthew 14:1-14

His disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. (v. 12)

Can you think of something in this sin-tainted world that breaks your heart and makes you wonder, How can this be? I lament when human trafficking, sexual immorality, injustice, racism, poverty, war, crime, and abuse cause people to suffer. Sometimes there are obvious steps I can take to do something about it. Other times I feel helpless to address it.

When I read this passage from Matthew 14, I wonder why John’s life of faithful servanthood and ministry had to end the way it did. In his final years, he experienced doubt, suffering, and then death. John endured suffering in prison because he spoke out against the marriage between Herod Antipas and Herodias. This marriage caused outrage among the people, who saw it as a violation of the Jewish law that made it forbidden for a man to marry his brother’s divorced wife. When given the opportunity, Herodias facilitated the murder of John.

There will be times in this life when you and I experience doubt, incur suffering, and face death. It won’t seem fair. Yet, as we enter the season of Advent, we rejoice that God never gave up on this world, and he never gives up on us. He sent Jesus, the Savior, who is Immanuel—God with us. He is with you in whatever you are facing. In the end, there will be justice. Will you be faithful to the end?

As you pray, open your heart to God and share the injustices you see. Ask God to help you be faithful.

About the Author

Rev. Steve Petroelje is a specialized transition pastor who serves vacant churches and helps them assess health, pursue missional effectiveness, and conduct a pastoral search process. He is the past-president of the Words of Hope Board of Trustees.

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series Prepare the Way