Saturday, February 28, 2015
Soldiers were drafted in WWII for “the duration” - the time during which something continues. My Dad couldn’t pass the draft's required physical – he lost one eardrum in an automobile accident that cracked the other. Instead of heading for training, he worked as a fireman on the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe railroad. These four young men - in a Santa Fe railcar - obviously passed their physical. Though we have no idea what happened to them, I doubt their duration was comfortable.
When we accept Jesus as Christ, the promised Messiah, son of God, as our Redeemer, we sign up for the duration. And, “duration” to me means eternity.
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:15-16 KJV)
That’s just part of a wonderful conversation Jesus held with Nicodemus. Apparently he signed up for the duration, working with Joseph of Arimathaea to see to Jesus’ burial:
And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. (John 19:38-40 KJV)
Under the circumstances, that’s a huge indication of faith on the part of these two men. Of course, they were influential, both in business and religion, placing them in a position to approach Pilate. But who would do that without faith in what Jesus taught? I wonder if his conversation with Jesus ran through his mind as Nicodemus gathered the spiced funeral mixture.
What is duration for a follower of Jesus? Not the few years of a war. Eternity, remember – eternal life. At the end of His ministry, He explained to His disciples:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (Luke 24:44-46 KJV)
The duration for me is eternal, no matter if I forget my way for a while. Not because of anything I’ve done but because I trust Jesus and Paul wrote something I believe:
. . . for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:12b-13 KJV)