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Me? Fall Away?

Daily Reading: Matthew 26

Scripture Focus: You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ (Matthew 26.31)

Devotional Thought: Something as small as a preposition can make a huge difference, can't it? Think of these two phrases: He works for me... She works with me... There is a huge difference. That's what caught my eye in today's verse. Jesus said, "You will all fall away because of me this night..." He didn't say, "You will all fall away from me..." which we would expect, but rather he said "because of me..."

Fall away because of Jesus? Well, then from what were the disciples going to fall away?" From the faith? That didn't seem to happen, except perhaps momentarily out of fear. From their God? Again, evidence does not bear that out. I think it meant that they were going to fall away from their certainty and strength. Speaking directly to Peter, Jesus said, "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22.32).

That brings up in my mind the image of Jesus, falling under the weight of the cross... When burdens grow heavy, we may stumble and fall. "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted" (Isaiah 40.30). The disciples lost their strength, stumbled and fell - because of their connection to Jesus.

Jesus did not leave them to despair. He had warned them, so that they would recognize what was happening and return to him. As Isaiah had written 700 years prior: "They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (40.31).

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the invitation, "Come to me all who are weary and burdened..." And, should I stumble and fall, please renew my strength as I wait for you. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 96.1-6

1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth!

2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

tell of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous works among all the peoples!

4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,

but the Lord made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him;

strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

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