Read: Luke 10:38-42; Luke 22:31-34; Matthew 23:37-39; Mark 15:33-34
Okay, let's play common bond. What do the following four people and one place have in common? They are Martha, Simon, Jerusalem, God and Saul. I'll just have a few sips of coffee, and I'll be back in thirty seconds!!
Ready for the answer? Each name was mentioned twice in a row in the Bible. In Hebrew thinking when a name is repeated, it is both a sign of intimacy and points out that something important is about to be conveyed. Don't we all desire that our name be spoken with intimacy and with the desire that the words we hear after our name be words that are also meaningful? With that in mind, let’s look into these twice repeated names and hear Jesus' words. There might also be some encouragement for us tucked away in these sweet repeats.
1. Martha, Martha-Luke 10:38-42
What an interesting little vignette we have here. A simple story of sisters and their love for Jesus. In John 11:5, we learn that Jesus loved not only these sisters, but also their brother Lazarus. Into this home, Jesus came to be with these friends He loved. Don't we love the honesty of the scriptures? Peace was not flowing like milk and honey. Mary was listening attentively to Jesus, and Martha was put out. She was working hard, and evidently, she felt that Mary had been hardly working. Somehow in my mind, I can hear Martha sighing loudly and approaching Jesus with hands on hips. She even told Him what He should do. It was at this point that Jesus spoke Martha's name twice. Because He loved her, He directed her to change her priorities. Jesus wasn't going to rebuke Mary, but neither was He angry at Martha. Her attitude needed an adjustment. I can relate. Sometimes, I go to the Savior with the thought that someone needs to do things differently. More than not, Jesus wants me to look into the mirror of His Word for an attitude adjustment. As with Martha, when the Lord's correction comes, it is directed out of His love for me.
2. Simon, Simon-Luke 22:31-34
Oh, we do love Simon Peter, and in this passage, Jesus had something very telling to say to His apostle. A bit of background. Beginning in Luke 22:24-30, the apostles had been arguing, once again, about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. It is here that Jesus reminded them about the priority of serving which He had taught them time and again. He also reminded them that in the kingdom, they would have special honor because of having shared His ministry on earth with Him.
After these sayings, Simon was told some very important things by Jesus. He had been targeted by Satan; however, Jesus had prayed for him. Though, Simon would deny His Lord, he would repent and strengthen the others. A fall would come, but its effects would not be permanent. Talk about words of both warning and winning. Sadly, Simon at this point, believed that Jesus' words would never apply to him. He didn't think that he could possibly fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12. Even so, both the failure and the victory that Jesus foretold occurred. Oh, what a lesson. How vulnerable we are when we forget that we are vulnerable. Praise God. As was true for Simon, we also have an intercessor. Jesus is praying for us, Romans 8:34. Yet, when we do sin, there is cleansing and forgiveness when we come to the Lord, 1 John 1:9.
3. Jerusalem, Jerusalem-Matthew 23:37-39
Oh, what a sweet and sad lament Jesus spoke on behalf of Jerusalem and its people. He knew that en masse that they would reject Him; yet, how He longed to bring them to Himself. There is such love in His words, and yet, there is the warning of the consequences they would endure because of their rejection of their Messiah. How tender it was that Jesus said He had longed to take His loved city and people under His wings, but they were not willing. What a reminder for us of the love Jesus has for those who are precious to us and who have not come under the Savior's wings for salvation. We can place their names where Matthew has written Jerusalem. Oh, Allen, Allen; David, David; John, John! When we long for their salvation, we know we're in tune with Jesus' heart here in Matthew 23.
4. My God, My God-Mark 15:33-34
When Jesus spoke these words with a loud cry, He had been on the cross for almost six hours. There had been darkness for almost three hours at this time. It was then that Jesus spoke of having been forsaken by His God. This was when the Savior was enduring the punishment of hell and the forsaking that each of us would have to bear if He hadn't done it on our behalf. What He bore can't be put into words adequately because we can't fathom what it cost Him to become sin and be forsaken by the Father, 2 Corinthians 5:21. Yet, the verse we love so much, John 3:16 speaks eloquently concerning why He endured such suffering. Each member of the trinity endured Jesus' being forsaken because of love for us. Love for the world. Not the trees. Not the mountains. Not the stars. No, it was done out of love for human beings who have each been made in God's image, Genesis 1:26-27.
One sweet repeat remains. Lord willing, we'll look into it next week.