Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A series of expositions on John the Apostle Pt.11

Matthew 26:45
“Here comes my betrayer”

John was startled awake by the sound of his Master’s voice. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me one hour?” John heard Jesus say. Young John had leaned himself up against a tree and the exhaustion of the day had over taken him. The cool almost wet breeze had lulled him to sleep.
The Lord seemed almost faint with sadness or fear, John couldn’t tell which but he had never seen him like this. Jesus dropped to his knees again to pray and John gasped at what he saw. As the moonlight shown on his Master’s face John could see what looked like drops of blood like sweat on Jesus’ face. Jesus placed his head to the ground and seemed to be shivering. “Abba, Abba, take this cup from me, but not as I will but as you will.” Jesus Muttered.
John’s eyelids again began to fall. “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough!” Jesus yelled. John burst out of a deep sleep once again to see Jesus standing over him. “The hour has come, look the Son of man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go!”
Here comes my betrayer!”
Young John leaped to his feet to look in the direction Jesus now pointed to see a small company of soldiers with torches headed their way. Once they came to where Jesus stood Judas emerged from between them and kissed the Lord on the cheek. John saw Jesus looked into the eyes of Judas with an expression of sorrowful anger. He then looked onto the soldiers. “Who is it you want?”Jesus asked. “Jesus of Nazareth” The soldier at the lead stated.
“I am he!” Jesus replied while advancing toward them.
The soldiers nearly fell backward at Jesus’ advance and willingness to be arrested. “If you are looking for me then let these men go.” Jesus said. The soldiers moved to bind him. Just then Peter unsheathed his sword and swung cutting the ear from the high priest’s servant. Jesus brushed aside the attempts to restrain him and stretched out grasping the place where the man’s ear had been and restoring it fully. “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” The Lord yelled to Peter.

Young John felt his heart torn from him as his greatest friend and his Lord was bound and taken away like a common criminal. It was happening just as Jesus had told them it would. Would he now really be killed, as he had said? Would he rise and be glorified, as he said he would? And just what did that mean, would he see his beloved teacher ever again?
John had been trying to decipher what the real meaning was behind these words since his Master had first stated them. He had asked many questions but Jesus would not reveal it plainly.
When would the new kingdom come? When would his Lord vanquish his enemies and be King as scripture foretold? Young John wept…..

We, as Christians, are a people that speak often of love but often we are referring to a love that rests very contingent on our own feelings. We all know and agree we are to “Love your neighbor” we agree even that we are to “Love our enemies.” But do we recognize love as more than just a feeling, something to be enjoyed and to enjoy with others? Do we see that love is not about how we feel when we are doing it or about whether we feel like doing it at all? The Bible and the Lord tells us and He shows us here that love is a Command with a capitol C. Actually it’s the Lord’s central command.
The Lord tells us it’s the way people will know we are His disciples and He tells us that God is not in us if we can’t do it.

How many of us have actually loved our enemies? Not just tried at work or in life to get along with them but actually Loved them. When have we ever prayed for someone that is trying to get us fired, or speaks terribly about us to others, or someone that has injured us or a family member? Most of us, if we are honest, will admit that we don’t. Why don’t we? Because we don’t feel like it.
The language used by God in the Old Testament and in the New is such that it leaves no loopholes, no misunderstanding, and no excuses. Are we to obey our feelings, our comforts, or God?

Here the Lord submits entirely to the Father’s will, many of us speak of how Jesus died for us, and He did, but He first died for the Father. His great love with the Father as being an eternal member of the trinity, lead Him to come here to this sin filled place we call earth, lead a sinless life for thirty-three years, and finally give Himself to the scourging post and the cross to not only pay for our sins so that we may have access to the Father and be saved but ultimately so the Father’s righteousness would be upheld.
The blood soaked cross is the greatest symbol of not only love but obedience to that love that has ever or will ever be known to mankind.

What does this example really mean for us His disciples?
I think it means we are to reach out to those we might not normally associate with, to those we feel uncomfortable around, even to those that have harmed us. It means we are to push far past our own boundaries of comfort and preference to give the unconditional love of Christ. Many search for the will of God for their lives but one aspect of that will can be answered very quickly and easily with the Bible. The Father wills that His love, His righteousness, and His glory would be known to the ends of the earth. Meanwhile we have people we work with, people in our family, and people all around us that need to know and do not and we often shrink back at the thought of us sharing it with them, why? Because it would make us uncomfortable, because we don’t feel like it.
If we are to call ourselves disciples, if we are to cover ourselves in the righteousness of Jesus and have joy in the sacrifice he chose to give us here in Gethsemane as He sweat blood but still said “Thy will not my will be done” shouldn’t we be compelled to share what has been done for us, shouldn’t we then strive to break free from our comforts and feelings in order to live by the very real commands of the Father and the Son?
Shouldn’t we put ourselves aside ignore our selfish feelings and place the commands and the love of Christ at the forefront of our lives letting that lead us?
What will it be like the day we stand before Jesus the man, the very real flesh and blood Lord that we can reach out and touch, the very real God/man we profess to follow? What will it be like as we see the spear mark in his side, the healed holes in His hands and feet? What will it be like to gaze upon the bodily physical evidence, as Thomas did, of the sacrifice made for you and for me?
To look upon the Lamb that was willing to put Himself aside to bear the wrath of the Father?

If we work hard at living a life to please ourselves this moment may be crushing even terrifying for us but if our hearts and our lives have been lead by His commands and His sacrificial love this moment will be filled with a glory and joy that will cause us to sing out as we hear those precious words from our Lord, our Teacher, and our Savior.

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”