Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Swords Down

Let me set the scene with a little creative license--Lord, may I be faithful. It is nighttime. Jesus had spent the evening with His disciples--washing their feet, speaking words of life and love, and praying to the Father on their behalf and ours (see John 13-17) It had been a full night. After He had finished praying He went out with His disciples to a garden called Gethsemane. It is interesting. He took His disciples to this familiar spot, not to hide from what was to come, rather it is as if He went there simply to meet His fate--no resistance, no hiding, no fighting with the will of the Father.

I also imagine that the scene was loud. A company of troops and officers came with lanterns, torches, and weapons, with Judas--a supposed disciple of Christ--leading the way. Jesus knew what was about to take place, but His disciples with Him were probably taken aback with the betrayal. My guess is that John and Peter abruptly arose and stood right beside Jesus in the confrontation.

"Jesus said to them--already knowing the answer--'Whom are you seeking?' They answered Him, 'Jesus of Nazareth'...Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground." (see vv. 4-6)

Are you with me? How amazing are these words? His answer, literally, "I AM" refers back to the Old Testament when God told Moses, "(Tell them) I AM has sent me to you." (see Exodus 3:14) He is the "I AM"--beginning and the end, always present, ever-reaching. And when Jesus allowed a moment of His glory to be expressed through the saying of His name, the troops drew back and fell to the ground. He was submitting to the will of the Father for the redemption of mankind, otherwise He could have spoken and legends of angels would have been at His side.

One last comment on this passage. Dear Peter. He is so fiery--hot or cold. In the passion of the moment, he drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. Jesus healed the man (seen in the gospel of Luke) and said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (v. 11) Complete submission.

This last portion has made me think of my own life with regard to suffering. Though no suffering will ever be as time-changing and monumental as the suffering of Christ on the cross, we still in our own lives will experience suffering. And what is our response? Do we fight against it with every sword we can pull? Or do we put the sword away, look into the face of our loving Father, and trust His ways are ultimately for our good and His glory? His vision is not our own. His ways are infinitely above us. But He can be fully trusted with our lives and the lives of those we love--fully trusted.

He is good when we are happy. He is good when we are sad. He is good when we face struggle. He is good when we are mad. He is good when the reports say "clear." He is good when they are covered in sorrow. He is good no matter the outcome. He is good today and tomorrow.

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