Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 6:1-19, Isaiah 9:6-7, Jeremiah 23:5-6
Whether it’s creeping doubts or, in the case of Nehemiah, a determined band of enemies with names like Sanballat (boo!), the work that Christ has for us rarely goes unopposed.
As I consider the ways God has used His Word to call me to serve and go and share, I am bolstered by Nehemiah’s tenacious faithfulness. Though his opponents sought to distract and discourage him, Nehemiah stood firm. His eyes were on the prize. His mission was God’s glory. His feet were firmly planted in the idea that he was building something bigger than himself. When his enemies accused him of plotting a coup to take the throne, Nehemiah simply sent this message:
“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down” (Nehemiah 6:3).
His words have the power to equip and encourage us. As we minister, as we obey, as we ask God to shape us into the image-bearers we were made to become, the voice of the enemy will continuously ring in our ears. But we do not have to listen. Christ is doing an important work in us, after all. There’s more to see. Nehemiah is pointing us toward something bigger.
Fast forward nearly 500 years past the construction of Nehemiah’s wall. Jesus, our Savior, hangs on a cross. Just like Nehemiah, Christ’s enemies accused Him of vying for a human throne. A sign carved by hatred was placed above His head, declaring sarcastically, “This is Jesus, King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37). Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, and the rest stood at the base of Nehemiah’s wall and hurled insults.
Christ’s accusers stood at the base of the cross and did the same.
“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him” (Matthew 27:42).
Jesus didn’t flinch. He didn’t rush to His own defense. He didn’t climb off the cross and put His opponents in their place, though He certainly could have. His eyes were glued to the Father, and His mission was our salvation. With His actions Christ was, in essence, declaring, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”
Nehemiah rebuilt the temple walls, and Jesus rebuilt the temple. Nehemiah stayed the course until the wall was finished, and Jesus stayed on the cross until the veil was torn. Nehemiah couldn’t have known it, but he was declaring the gospel with his life and work. Because Jesus was not deterred by His accusers, we can declare the same.
I reckon Nehemiah would tell us there is no cost to count when compared to the privilege of pointing to Jesus. And through His death, Jesus declares there is no cost too high to pay in order to ransom us. With the gospel as our grid, we can stay the course, embracing Christ’s words as He reminds us,
“If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life because of me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).
Pick up your cross. Tune out the enemy. Let’s keep building.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.