COLLINS COLUMN: Keep going even when you don’t know the outcome

Published 10:08 am Friday, September 9, 2022

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If we only knew how things would turn out! How many times have you wished you knew the outcome so you could relax, invest, sleep, or be prepared?

As parents we want to know that the kids will be okay when they grow up. When it comes to retirement, we want to know exactly how our 401k will perform so we are sure we have enough when we stop working. Then there are the little things like the outcome of our preferred team in a given game or season. If we just knew how everything would turn out, we could finally take a breath!

They wondered . . . and followed

The disciples had been following Jesus for nearly three years, and they had the same questions. Even as they saw Jesus turn water into wine, heal the sick and outsmart the Pharisees, they also felt the rising tensions in Jerusalem. They saw the whispering of the powerful, and they must have wondered how all of what Jesus had been saying would really turn out. Yet they followed him.

In Luke 22, we find Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem, and it was time for the Passover. As best as I can discover, none of the 12 were from Jerusalem. Neither was Jesus, and it was time to celebrate the important event of the Passover, commemorating the day the Jews were set free from slavery in Egypt and the death angel passed over them because they had obeyed God’s instructions and rubbed the blood of a lamb on the doorframe of their homes. But in Jerusalem, Jesus and his followers had no home.

Simple instructions . . . certain result

If we pay attention as we read the Gospels, we can see that Jesus was always way ahead of the disciples. He knew the plan, the path forward and the outcome. In Luke 22:7, Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare the Passover feast. Of course, they wondered where. But Jesus didn’t give them an address. His instructions were simple: Go to town and look for the man that meets you carrying a jar of water and follow him to the house. Sounds simple enough but wouldn’t lots of people be carrying jars of water to their houses? 

Especially if everyone in the city was preparing for the Passover? But they knew Jesus well and had seen the unimaginable time and time again, so they just did what he told them to do.

What would happen if we had the faith to do the same? We even have the advantage over the disciples. We have recorded history of the outcome of all that transpired in the last days of Jesus on earth, including his resurrection. Yet, how many times do we fail to trust that Jesus has a plan, a path forward for us, and knows the outcomes of our obedience if we can just muster the faith to trust him?

When Peter and John got to the city, sure enough there was a man carrying a jar of water. As Luke 22:13 puts it: “They went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.” And we know the rest of the story, which is filled with tension, betrayal, fear, feasts, denials, victory, and obedience. It’s a story that has changed the world. 

We can believe . . . and obey

When we partner with Jesus, we will experience all of the same things the disciples experienced on their path to obedience and complete and perfect transformation. But just like the disciples we will have to get comfortable that the outcomes are in the hands of Jesus and will not always be immediately visible to us.

When the scriptures nudge us to steps of obedience, we must take steps of faith and follow them. 

So don’t hesitate to go ahead and prepare the feast. Jesus will dine with us.