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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 (quickview) )

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 (quickview) )

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 (quickview) )

- John says a "detachment of soldiers" came (John 18:3 (quickview) ) = 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 (quickview)  "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 (quickview) ). 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 (quickview)  "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.


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