Summary: No one whose hope is in God will be put to shame. It is not the harsh realities that defeat us but our inability to see God¡¯s goodness and will in them. Trust the Sovereign God who is in control and still very much involved in your life.
[Main thoughts taken from Max Lucado’s book Just Like Jesus]
Theme: A Hopeful Heart
Hope is like gold in the garbage.
- In the midst of all the trash you find something precious.
- In the midst of the darkness you see a ray of light.
Look at Jesus at the lowest point of His life - the night before His death.
- Between the prayer at Gethsemane and the mock trial by Pilate, Jesus experienced life’s darkest moments.
- Except for Jesus, not one person did one good thing during that hour.
Try to look for some sense of decency or a speck of character, and you won’t find it.
- What we find is a heap of human deceit, lies and betrayal.
- Yet in it all, Jesus stood strong. He saw reason to hope, a purpose to endure.
The darkest night of Jesus?life was marked by one crisis after another.
- In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see an unanswered prayer.
- Jesus had offered an anguished appeal to God. "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matt 26:39)
It was not a calm and serene time of prayer.
- Matthew says Jesus was "sorrowful and troubled" (v.37). This was what He said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (v.38)
- Matthew says Jesus "fell with his face to the ground" (v.39) and cried out to God.
- Luke tells us that Jesus was "in anguish" and that "his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground". (Luke 22:44)
I believe never was there a more sorrowful plea from earth, and never has heaven offered a more deafening silence.
- The prayer of Jesus was unanswered. He knew it. It was not going to be God’s will.
- There was no solace for him. Even his closest friends were sleeping.
* * * * * * * * * * *
And then the second hurt came, in the form of someone He had spent 3 years with - betrayal.
- Judas came with a large crowd armed with swords and clubs! (Matt 26:47)
- John says a "detachment of soldiers" came (John 18:3) = 200 soldiers. Even if it was not the whole detachment turning up, it would be a large crowd with many religious leaders.
- Matt 26:48 "Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." What an irony, that the sign of betrayal would be a kiss, a sign of goodwill and love.
Having done so much good - healing their sick, the lame, and the blind, providing them with words of comfort, hope and love - the crowd now turns against Him.
- Rejection, despite all the good He has done. No one stood by Him, literally.
- Matthew confessed: "All the disciples deserted him and fled." (Matt 26:56). Complete abandonment.
The last time we see the disciples so united in doing the same thing is just a few verses before - in Matt 26:35 "But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same."
- How sad! ALL pledged loyalty and yet ALL ran.
- Wherever you turn, the picture was the same. A friend betrayed him. The disciples left him. The people rejected him. And God did not answer him.
- What a night! It all came in one night. Never has there been so much darkness.