John Day 17: Strength Personified

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Text:  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.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.”  

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.”

Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping.  “Could you men not keep watch with Me for one hour?” He asked Peter.  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

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.”

When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 

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.  Rise, let us go!  Here comes my betrayer!”

Stop and Consider

  1. Have you ever seen someone you consider to be a rock in unabashed anguish, virtually inconsolable, overwhelmed with sorrow?  What impact did it have on you?   No, I haven’t.  Honestly, I don’t know that many people that I can call a “rock.”  And I also think that we, as humans, tend to hide our sorrow from others or to turn away and not look at someone else’s sorrow out of discomfort.
  2. Can genuine strength and deep emotion dwell in the same person?  How does seeing this in Jesus challenged your view of what steadiness and resiliency are made of?  Yes, they can dwell in the same person.  It is just extremely rare to find someone with both of those qualities.  You don’t have to be a cold-hearted person to be strong and steady.  At the same time, you can show genuine emotion and experience deep, intense feelings without being a basketcase all the time.  

Praying God’s Word Today

Lord, Your people have long known the feeling of sorrow – like Jeremiah, who cried out in lament for Your suffering people:  “My anguish, my anguish!  I writhe in agony!  Oh, the pain in my heart!  I cannot be silent” (Jer. 4:19).  I know life is serious, Lord.  My enemies are vigorous and powerful.  I am attacked for pursuing good.  But I also know that You will never abandon me, my God.  Do not be far from me.  Hurry to help me, Lord, my Savior (Ps. 38:19-22), for my hope is in You.  When I cry, I cry out to You.

You have promised to be with me and strengthen me when I obey You.  I have seen how Satan uses people to attack those who are working for Your kingdom.  Help me to not become cynical and hateful as a result of the hatefulness and evil of those who hate You.  Let me pray for them and leave them to You.  You are in control and will deal with them accordingly.  Let me focus, instead, on my mission and not be distracted by them.  

 

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