Life is filled with choices. Some are as simple as what to have for dinner, while some are choices that may forever alter the remaining years of our lives. Procrastination may delay our having to make some of these decisions but even that, in essence, is making a choice.
In II Samuel 15:18-22 we find an example of voluntary and decisive choices being made. Ittai the Gittite and his five hundred men had just arrived in Jerusalem to give honor to King David, only to find David’s son Absalom’s plot to overthrow his father had come to fruition, forcing David to flee. Telling Ittai that he was a foreigner, only just come the day before, he was under no obligation to attach himself to a deposed king or have any involvement whatsoever. David gave him liberty to return to his home. But Ittai chose rather to accompany and support David over his own personal safety, and ultimately led a third of David’s forces to victory over Absalom.
Jesus, in John Chapter 17, on the night he was betrayed, prays a beautiful prayer. To paraphrase his prayer he said the work given him to do was done, he has taught his disciples everything he could, asked the Father to watch over them and keep them, sanctify them and send them out, that they may share the love that is only of God. In the first of its twenty-six verses Jesus begins with the words, “Father, the hour is come.”
Choices. The disciples long before this fateful night had made a choice to follow Jesus wherever he went. At one time there were a few more in their contingent but after some of Christ’s “hard sayings”, it says in John 6:66, “from that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.” Some decided they really didn’t believe everything he was saying and made the choice to turn away. But an interesting point about the choice these former followers made is that they were in a position to change their minds sometime in the future. For all we know some of those very same people who turned away may have been later converted, even at Pentecost.
“Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come.” (John 16:32) Then there came the time when some choices were forever set. Judas sold Jesus to the authorities; Pilate chose to release Barabbas and condemned Jesus to death, and Jesus who, despite the sufferings he knew he would endure, chose the cup that his Father set before him.
I have heard this past week of a friend in his early sixties who has suffered a massive heart attack and is not expected to live much longer. Though still alive, I don’t believe he is in a conscience state. His hour is now come. His choices have been made and to my knowledge he is now facing a Christless eternity. Was he expecting this time so soon? Did he not think that he had a few more years left like some of his relatives? Over the years did he say to himself, “I’ll do it tomorrow”? “Behold, now is the day of salvation.” (II Cor 6:2) Now is the time to choose Jesus while you still have the power and the opportunity to choose. The day approaches when your hour will also come.