The Message of the Table: Losing it All; Receiving it Back (Jan 2012)

By Matt Dabbs

By Keith Brenton

In a single day, the greatest man in all the East – one of the richest, wisest, and most righteous before God – lost it all.[1] Job lost his herds and his flocks; his wealth and his dear children. He fell to his knees in mournful worship. Then he lost his health, crippled by searingly painful boils upon his flesh. And he knew that God permitted it, because God could have prevented it. He flung his question at God as any man would – “WHY?” – but never doubted that God still reigned over everything. He accepted the response that he would not be able to understand God’s answer. He never knew that he had been the object of a wager between God and the accuser Satan over his faithfulness – or that God had bet on him. God believed in Job as much as Job believed in God. At the end of the account, God restored to Job all that had been snatched away from him – some of it doubly.[2]

On one early-darkening day, the greatest Man who ever lived lost it all – the respect of those who had called Him “Rabbi;” the companionship of followers, friends, family; His freedom; His dignity; His comfort; and His very lifeblood. Knowing that all of it was coming – on the night before it did so – Jesus fell to His knees in mournful worship. Then the pummeling, the crown of thorns, the whip of cords, and the nails assaulted His flesh. And He knew that God was permitting it, because He had begged God to prevent it.[3] He never doubted that God still reigned over life and death. He accepted the response that was God’s tortured silence, for He already understood God’s answer. He knew that all mankind was the object of a wager between God and the accuser over His faithfulness, and that God was counting on Him to suffer and die – as much as He was counting on God to raise Him up. In the end, God not only restored unending life to Him, but the promise of it to all who would follow … so great a family that only God could number them.[4]

A Prayer for the Bread
O God and Father, You comprehend mysteries beyond our grasp: how your justice and mercy are served by the suffering of Your Servant; Your Son. As we try to understand the sacrifice of His body while we eat this bread, we confess to You our shortcomings, our insufficiency, our sin. And we glorify Your Name through His. Amen.

A Prayer for the Cup
Gracious and Righteous God, we fall to our knees in worship – mournful of our sin and its consequences; joyous for the hope we have through Jesus, the Christ. Though we know very few of life’s answers, You have shown Yourself to us through Him, and it is all the answer we need. Bless us in the sharing of this cup as we remember what won the wager and won our souls from endless death: the blood of Your Son and our Intercessor. Amen.

1. Job 1

2. Job 42

3. Luke 22:39-46

4. Isaiah 53

A Substitute Sacrifice

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This author published 1598 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of


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