Saul of Tarsus meets Jesus on the road to Damascus. Peter takes his ministry down to the Mediterranean coast.
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Jesus, drawing on Old Testament imagery of sheep and a shepherd says that he is the door of the sheepfold by which God’s sheep enter. Further he calls himself the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep
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34 But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
In a wider discussion about signs of the times and future things, Jesus turned his attention back to the present. He knew that our interest in the future is not always correlated with vigilance in the present. In fact, it can be used as a way to avoid it.
The person who is always looking just beyond the horizon can grow careless. It doesn’t have to happen, but when attention is drawn to the “What if … ?” or “Is it maybe …?” we can lose sight of our current responsibilities.
Character is inevitably developed in the present tense. What we do today ripples into tomorrow in more ways than we can imagine. Preparing for the future means doing something before the future gets here. This was Christ’s concern for his disciples and it remains his concern for us.
If we become lax in our walk with Christ, in our disciplines, or in the little details of our spiritual life, the future will be here before we know it. It will come quickly enough anyway, but it will seem even quicker for the one who is caught off guard.
Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down …