An Appointment in Samarra

>> Saturday, April 7, 2012

As I walked on the treadmill this morning, my pacing feet had trouble keeping up with my ricocheting thoughts. It’s Good Friday … strange name for the day they crucified Jesus … but He knew He was going to die … so do I … but He knew when … I don’t … wonder which is better.  

In the obituaries, almost daily, the newspaper tells me people I know … and some I love … are dying. As I near the age of 70, it’s happening more and more often. We all have the same appointment.  

Sometimes we try to outsmart death.  

On Chuck Swindoll’s podcast this morning, he told a story that triggered my thoughts of death, which I’ll relay as best I remember.  

In ancient days, a man asked his owner’s permission to travel to Baghdad on some errands. While there, the man saw Death standing in the marketplace. Death looked right at him and made some threatening gestures. Terrified, the man returned to his owner and begged permission to travel to Samarra for a time. He explained he had seen Death … been threatened … and wanted to avoid her.  

Permission was granted.  

Later that day, the owner also went to Baghdad … and saw Death in the marketplace. He confronted her about her threatening gestures … and how terrified his slave had been.  

“Oh, those were not threatening gestures. They were expressions of surprise. You see, I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”  

Jesus knew when His appointment was … where it would happen … and how He would die. Yet He did not travel to Samarra to avoid it, but willingly placed His life in the hands of His enemies.  

He did that for me … and you.  

“They nailed him up at nine o'clock in the morning.” Mark 15:25 (MSG)  

“From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Matthew 27:46 (MSG)


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