My God….

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”  Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.

The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit……

(Matthew 27:45-50)

 

On the Night You Were Betrayed…..

On the night you were betrayed, you prayed….

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Not What I Will….

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.  And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”  (Mark 14:35-36)

Yesterday I talked about being fearless, what that looks like in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit, how Jesus was fearless and obedient.

As I read through the accounts of his time in the garden of Gethsemane, it’s more than clear that he would have certainly preferred a different approach…..  Yet he moved forward, because “not what I will, but what you will”.

When you read the passage above, what do you think?  How does it compare to your prayers?  If you are like me, you might pray something similar.  “God, I know you can do this – but just in case, I’ll give you an out”.  That sort of doubting prayer.

Or maybe “God, I know you could fix this.  Why haven’t you???”.  Again, doubting.  Also accusing God, or blaming him for our afflictions.

Or “Not my will, God, but – well to be honest, yeah my will”.  You know when we pray “in obedience to God’s will”, but fully intend to do what we please……

None of those prayers what reflect Jesus is saying.  He already knows what he is called to endure – for us.  He’s stating that while he doesn’t want this cup, he will drink it to fulfill the will of the Father.  Obedience.  He knows this is the only way to restore his children to himself.  In the moment, he lays aside his flesh, his desires, for the good of all and the glory of God…..

That is my prayer today.  “Lord, not what I will, but what you will”.  Lord, help me to stand by that.  Thank you for your grace which gives me the power to stand by that.

Fearless?

Watching this video, I’m reminded of how often I can choose the easy way.  Out of fear, out of laziness, out of comfort-seeking – whatever it is, it is definitely out of selfishness….

I don’t want to live like that.  I pray every day for courage.  I don’t pray for comfort.  But I must confess, I want it…..

And God won’t let me pray for it, praise him for that.  I don’t know what that will mean in my life – but I do know that daily steps of obedience toward him, in faith that does not doubt or waiver, will only result in blessings.  Not necessarily blessings in a “joyous, happy, comfortable” way.  But blessings all the same.  For starters – every time I take a step in obedience, the Lord blesses me with stronger faith, which allows me to take another step toward him.

He also blesses me with grace.  Grace, which allows me to get up when I fall – even if my sin at the moment is NOT taking that step toward him, or doubting him and his promise – and more quickly than before.  But also grace, which empowers me to say, “No” to the constant barrage of worldly desires.  To say, “No” to my own flesh.  These are immeasurable blessings in my book.  I thank God for that every single day.

As we near Easter, many of us are spending time this week meditating on what Jesus did for us.  He died for us, and not a simple comfortable, or even QUICK death.  He died a gruesome, painful, humiliating death….

Not only that, he gave up his position with the Father for us.  Do you get that???  He was fully in communion with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit!  Lock-step, no deviation.  We, who can seemingly NEVER do that with our families, our spouses, even our God, cannot fully understand all that he gave up.  To live here on earth as one of us.  To commune with us sinners, many who hated him and wanted him dead!  His love drove him to this, so that we might have the power to return to him….

Most important – and most amazing to me –  in that moment on the cross, just before his death, he gave up ANY sort of communion with the Father so that we have the opportunity to be reconciled to him.  He endured HELL.  He was smitten, cast out, forsaken.  Ever been dumped by someone?  Either in a dating relationship or marriage, or fired from a job, or cast out of your family or circle of friends?  Yeah – that’s something we can get over to some degree.  But to be forsaken by God – there is nothing left…..  Complete darkness…….  I don’t think we could recover from that….

I was up north with my wife once, and we were looking out at the bay at night, which was beautiful.  The entire thing was gorgeous, with the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach (In the middle of winter mind you – still crashing waves, very cool!).  But as you looked out as far as you could see, the sky was so dark, that you couldn’t see where it ended and the water began.  You couldn’t see anything.  We both comment on how eerie it was.  I mean freakishly eerie…..  Nothing but black, emptiness.  I got this haunting feeling, “I wonder if this is what hell would be like……”  I don’t want to know, personally.  And I don’t want anyone else to know either……

But Jesus – he endured that.  way, way beyond that, I imagine.  For US.  So we, who DESERVE that, don’t have to.  Don’t you see that?  Don’t you see how unbelievably crazy that is?  He did this for us…….

Willingly.  All of it willingly.  He didn’t want to – if you read through the Gospels, you will see that he would rather not have had to endure this.  But he endured all of this out of obedience to the Father.  For us.

For us……

I leave you today with a passage from Matthew 26….

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”  And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.  Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

Good Day to Die…

Good Day to DieThis is sort of a “concept” EP, with the three songs representing each day.  Sort of.  I’ll try and explain.

“Good Day to Die” is about Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, which was just prior to his arrest and crucifixion  (I get this was likely the day before he was crucified – there is a reason I’m not a pastor or master theologian 🙂 ).

“Were You There?” is an old hymn, an old African American spiritual song (or so Wikipedia says – I just love the song), I think a beautiful telling of Jesus’ death from the perspective of onlookers – likely those who knew him well and loved him.  It’s a sad song.  I chose to remove the last verse, “Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?”, to sort of capture the feeling of loss, pain, confusion that likely went through the minds of those who were his disciples…..

“Who Will Roll Away the Stone?” is an instrumental I wrote, trying to capture the feeling that Mary Magdalene might have been feeling when she went to anoint her Lord.  She asked, ‘But who will roll away the stone for us?”.  And it was already rolled away.  And our Lord was already risen from the dead – Praise God!

I ended this song with a passage from John 15:

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”  

This is a wonderful promise, that Jesus leaves us with the Holy Spirit.  That he has known us from the beginning, from before we were born.  God is so good…..

Anyway – I hope you enjoy this little ditty.  I hope God finds you well.  I pray that if you don’t yet know the Lord you might ponder just what it means when Jesus says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever chooses shall not perish but have eternal life”.

God bless you!

http://tedhtunes.bandcamp.com/album/good-day-to-die