Monday, April 1, 2013

Sunday Ramblings...Jesus' best friends

Matthew 26:36-46 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!
The passage above tells about Jesus with some of his closest earthly companions. His disciples were just that, His apprentice. The people who walked with Jesus daily and constantly sought to learn from Him. They said over and over again that no one could capture their hearts and their passion like Jesus Christ, the only son of God, had. What about in this passage then? When Jesus was at His weakest moment, tore apart on the inside because he had the burden of the entire world's sin plus, his own father, the only heavenly being who can save anyone, essentially abandoned His call. At this moment of deep distress, deeper than we can even fathom, his right hand men fell asleep when they were supposed to be keeping watch and praying with Jesus. Wow. If that had happened today, we would probably have some awful things to say to those companions.  "Now is the time I needed you the most and you just shunned me? You don't even care do you! You don't understand, you have missed the point entirely." I can hear it being said, mainly because I've seen much more watered down versions of this in our earthly relationships. When one of our closest comrades dismisses an important moment we are in or when someone you confide in doesn't understand the weight of a situation. Maybe it is those people who have pushed away your friendship for whichever reason. But this isn't where the story ends. 
Luke 23:32-43 
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father,forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews,save yourself.” 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
John 19:25-27  Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Did you notice that even at the end, Jesus said "Father forgive them, they don't understand what they're doing." He saved a criminal and he made arrangements for His mother to be cared for. You see, even when treated in the worst way possible, all of his "followers" chanting "Crucify him!" Jesus still remained composed as His heart broke with compassion for all of these lost people. The other important thing to note is that He didn't just die. He rose from the grave so that He could save each and every one of those "haters" and take them to live in Heaven for ETERNITY! 
This makes that scenario of one of our friends disappointing us sound extremely unimportant doesn't it? When we've been treated badly, our lives were not at risk. We may be hurt over situations but tell me Jesus didn't feel hurt and neglect, and I'll show you that is wrong. The next time you are treated badly, or maybe there is someone who has already thrown you to the proverbial curb, turn the other cheek. Yes, it can be extremely hard and even seemingly impossible. Showering your heart with prayer, as well as theirs is a great way to start. Then find little ways to reach out to them. Even though it may seem like an outlandish idea to love those who "hate" you, we should do it because that's what the life of Jesus was all about. 

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