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Is there any escape from this pattern of living?  The answer lies in the life of our Lord.  On the night before He died, Jesus made an astonishing claim.  In the great prayer of John 17 He said, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (verse 4).


How could Jesus use the word “finished?”  His three-year ministry seemed all too short.  A prostitute at Simon’s banquet had found forgiveness and a new life, but many others still walked the street without forgiveness and a new life.  For every ten withered muscles that had flexed into health, a hundred remained impotent.  Yet on that last night, with many useful tasks undone and urgent human needs unmet, the Lord had peace; He new He had finished God’s work.


The Gospel records show that Jesus worked hard.  After describing a busy day Mark writes, “That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons.  And the whole city was gathered about the door.  And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons” (1:32-34).


On another occasion the demand of the ill and maimed caused Him to miss supper and to work so late that His disciples thought He was beside Himself (Mark 3:21).  One day after a strenuous teaching session, Jesus and His disciples went out in a boat.  Even a storm didn’t awaken Him (Matthew 4:37-38).  What a picture of exhaustion.


Yet His life was never feverish; He had time for people.  He could spend hours talking to one person, such as the Samaritan woman at the well.  His life showed a wonderful balance, a sense of timing.  When His brothers wanted Him to go to Judea, He replied, “My time has not yet come” (John 7:6).  Jesus did not ruin His gifts by haste.  In “The Disciple and Culture of the Spiritual Life,” A.E. Whiteham observes:  “Here in this Man is adequate purpose ... inward rest, that gives an air of leisure to His crowded life: above all there is in this Man a secret and a power of dealing with the waste-products of life, the waste of pain, disappointment, enmity, death--turning to divine uses the abuses of man, transforming arid places of pain to fruitfulness, triumphing at last in death, and making a short life of thirty years or so, abruptly cut off, to be a “finished” life.  We cannot admire the poise and beauty of this human life, and then ignore the things that made it.”




What was the secret of Jesus’ work?  We find a clue following Mark’s account of Jesus’ busy day.  Mark observes that “ ... in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).  Here is the secret of Jesus’ life and work for God:  He prayerfully waited for His Father’s instructions and for the strength to follow them.  Jesus had no divinely-drawn blueprint; He discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer.  By this means He warded off the urgent and accomplished the important.

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