Summary: Everyone wants to know the end of a story. That alone makes people candidates for hearing the gospel.
Although I’m sure there are exceptions, it has been apparent at least in my own personal observations, that people need to see things through to a finish.
Just a few years ago a man named Vernon Howell and his deluded followers attacked ATF agents. Then they barricaded themselves against the world, there in Waco, Texas, and the world watched.
One morning in mid 1994 newscasters announced that Los Angeles Police were looking for OJ Simpson in connection with the murder of his wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman. As his trial went on, and on, and on, the world watched.
As technology grows and improves, even the small, relatively insignificant events of our world that transpire, sometimes in very out-of-the-way places, are more widely reported through the internet, television and the printed word.
A child is kidnapped, terrorists hold captives, countries that have long been at war with one another meet year after year for peace talks, and the world watches.
Why? Because we need to know the end.
If the TV goes on the blink ten minutes after the beginning of the Monday night movie, we’re disappointed. If it goes on the blink ten minutes before the end, we’re livid!
The time when we’re least likely to lay a good book down is when we’re in the last two or three chapters. We’ve just GOT to know how it ends.
There are times when we truly need to see an end. Emotionally, psychologically, we need an end. When a loved one dies it is for the family - the loved ones - that we hold a funeral service. Even the graveside service has a very real purpose in the grieving process. People need to say good-bye. There needs to be closure.
All of us feel grief in our heart when we hear of someone whose child was kidnapped and never found. When they are interviewed on television, what do they always say? “I’ve just got to know. One way or the other, I’ve got to know where my child is”.
There are parents whose sons never returned from Viet Nam and were never accounted for, and the families just went on for years and years, never knowing. We can almost feel the pain with them, because that’s our nature...the need to know the end.
Well on the night of the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter ran away into the woods with the rest of the followers. But even in the face of those obviously dangerous circumstances, he couldn’t stay away entirely. He had to know the end.
Let’s read Matthew 26, verses 57 and 58.
Had fear and confusion not clouded Peter’s thinking, he may have found comfort in the words he had heard only hours before. While celebrating the Passover feast with His disciples, the Lord had said clearly, “This is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many, for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
If Peter had remembered those words and their meaning, maybe they would have given him the encouragement that was so sorely needed; the faith that was so sorely lacking.
Even in the Garden, at the time of the arrest, (right there in verse 56) Jesus had said, “...all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.’
Well we know now, of course, that the only thing that came to an end that night was the physical, earthly ministry of Christ.
Happily for Peter, it was not his end either. The events of this night would become, not only for Peter but for all who believe, the power of God for salvation.
Judas thought it was the end of his hopes that this Jesus, the Messiah, would conquer Israel’s enemies and establish His kingdom on earth.
Pilate thought it was the end of yet another rebel against Rome’s rule; whose followers would scatter and go back to their homes.
The religious leaders thought it was the end of the one whose words had held such searing rebuke for their hypocrisy.
Everyone thought it was the end, for one reason or another.
They didn’t understand that His crucifixion was only the physical manifestation of something that had been a settled fact since before the beginning of time.
The Lamb, slain before the foundation of the world, was being led from His garden of prayer, to His great victory.
They tied his hands, and He took captivity captive.
They were bruising His face in hatred, but He was being crushed for our iniquities.
They thought the whip against His back was punishment for His supposed crime, but He was providing healing for our sin-sick souls.