Nov23MonNovember 23, 2020
Hello fellow travelers,
Life can be hard. You can be going along just fine, then all of a sudden - your whole world starts to unravel. You are misunderstood, challenged at every turn, questioned, not appreciated, and ultimately forsaken by many, if not all of your friends, even your closest friends. You find yourself alone before your accusers. You feel bound, betrayed and abandoned - like a sheep led to the slaughter. Think of your darkest memory. Jesus says, "been there; done that - got the t-shirt and the wounds to prove it".
This event comes right after a great time of fellowship, celebrating a meal together. One minute we're up, the next minute we come crashing down. This is life isn't it - Full of ups and downs; sometimes more "downs" and long periods before there is an "up". Darkness can last a long time, before the light breaks in. Before a resurrection Sunday, there is always a dark Thursday/Friday/Saturday.
The Apostle John captures what Jesus felt with one simple line "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him."(John 1:11) REJECTION!!! "He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care."(Isaiah 53:3 NLT)
Here is a quick picture of what Jesus experienced that Thursday night:
45-46: your best friends are sleeping during your most difficult moments
47-48: betrayed with a kiss by a friend
49-50: friends making things worse for you
51: one last act of compassion and power - pouring yourself out for one injured soul - one last healing
52-53: misunderstood, and questioning the impact of your life - realizing that darkness reigns
54: arrested, and dragged away where you don't want to go
55-62: Watching your best friend not stand up for you, nor confess that he knows you
63-65: mocked, ridiculed, beaten, insulted at the hands of strangers
66: interrogated by those who have been plotting to kill you for the last 3 years - your own people
67-71: people despise you because of who you are - your confession seals your fate
What a night! His friends abandoned Him. His fellow Jews abandoned Him. His chief Apostle, Peter, upon whom He would confer His church denied he even knew Jesus - Three times! Jesus is taken first to Annas, former High Priest, and then to Caiaphas, current High Priest, where he spends the night in a dungeon. (one must fill in the blanks by piecing together all the Gospels - Jesus had to spend the night somewhere, and the last place - Thursday evening, was Caiaphas' house - see John 18, and Matthew 26) Those who have travelled to Jerusalem say that one can visit the dungeon in Caiaphas' house where Jesus was placed on Thursday night. To get a picture of the deep darkness and agony Jesus felt, read Psalm 88 which ends like this, "You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend."
Friends, here is the message of this passage - Jesus did this for you; for me; for all of us! He went through His darkest night, so He could take you through yours. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted (suffering & tested). (Hebrews 2:18) Beloved of God, next time you are in your "dark night", remember that we have a God who can sympathize with us, meet us in the darkness, and take us through the darkest moments.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:11-12)
"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light." (Micah 7:7-8)
Have a great week!