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.
- From a human point of view, Jesus?world has collapsed. No answer from heaven, no help from the people, no loyalty from his friends.
That may be how we would see it. That may be how a reporter would write it. But that was not how Jesus saw it.
- He saw something else entirely. He knew the Father was with Him. He knew He was fulfilling God’s plan. He knew this has to happen, in order for the good to come.
- He was not blinded to the surrounding, but He was not limited to this vision. He saw the hand of God in everything that was happening.
- Listen to what He says to the disciples (Matt 26:54): "But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" and then in 26:56 "But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled."
Can we do the same? Can we see the will of God in the midst of chaos? Can we see the purpose of God in the suffering and pain?
- Can we still see the goodness of God in the problem we face today? We are beaten if we can’t. We have fallen into the trap of the devil if we cannot.