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Are you Encouraged?

April 2, 2015

This post was originally posted on and has been archived here.

“Hey Mark, are you encouraged?”

This is a question I receive regularly…usually from other pastors or people in a similar calling. Its a difficult question to answer for me because I like to be honest most of the time.

And the truth is that I’m not always encouraged. In fact, I’m very discouraged sometimes. Sometimes I’m discouraged to the point of exhaustion and simply wanting to give up all that I’m doing.

I don’t doubt the disciples and many who followed Jesus felt this way right after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (come this Sunday to hear more about the Triumphal Entry). Think about it. Lazarus had just been raised from the dead, Jesus is fulfilling prophecies, he comes into the city like a king, crowds are worshipping him, waving and putting palm branches on the ground for him, people are getting healed, he cleanses the temple (again), the pharisees are thinking of giving up because even the Greeks are coming from all over the world to hear him and become his disciples too! It looks like Jesus is about to win it all!

Then Jesus does this – “And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” – Mark 11:11b (ESV)

Talk about anticlimactic. All this happens, and all he does is look around and walk out? I’m sure the disciples and the crowds were expecting something else (especially if they knew the prophecy from Zechariah 9 that it seemed like was coming true right in their midst). I would have expected more (that’s me being honest). I would have expected Jesus to do more at that moment than just walk out. Like, why didn’t he call down his angels and take the kingdom that’s rightfully his (because he’s God and a son of David) then and there?

And I think this is why I get discouraged sometimes. I get in my mind that God is about to act a certain way, and then he does something completely different than I expect. Its not that I always think he’s making a bad decision with ordering things a certain way, but it definitely presents an opportunity for me to renew my trust in him and causes me to pick up the shield of faith knowing that he knows what’s best.

And this is what I learn. God’s ways may be different, but they are always better than mine and I can trust in him.

After the Triumphal Entry, what Jesus was about to do by going to the cross and dying for the penalty of sin and raising back to life on the third day to defeat the power of sin and death, rids me of discouragement. The discouragement the disciples felt when he died on the cross was wiped far away when he came back to life on the third day.

Jesus did win.

So am I encouraged? Yes! You wanna know why? Not because of my surroundings or because of my situation. I am encouraged because Jesus is on the throne even when to me it might not seem like it. Jesus is on the throne even when I lose sight of it and I begin to think its all about me. Jesus is on the throne and he has done and is doing everything for our good and his glory.

Ephesians 3:20–21 – Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


This was originally posted in our newsletter from March 27, 2015. Sign up for the newsletter by entering your email address in the right hand sidebar.

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