Summary: Fourth in the series "Meet the Cast." As you study Jesus’ life you realize that even though He did not lay aside his deity, He did humble himself as a man, to serve all humanity. So Jesus understands what we are facing in our lives.

I love the way “The Passion of The Christ” movie begins, with the reminder that 400 years before Jesus was born his sacrifice was foretold in a vivid way.

Isaiah 53:5 (LB)

But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed--and we were healed!

No single person in history knows more about suffering than Jesus! Does that surprise you? It should! I have heard of many people who have died equally as awful a death as crucifixion and some who have even died worse deaths. If that statement was only in reference to the type of death He died it may not be accurate. However, the fact that He was, is, and always will be, God. The fact that He never sinned, the fact that He who was without sin took on all the sins of mankind while suffering His sentence, this makes His death and suffering unparalleled.

Jesus knew how to follow God’s plan even when times were terrible.

Have you been going through tough times? We all have tough times to endure. This may sound cliché but Jesus knows your hurt. He knows how you feel, as a matter of fact in his last 12 hours of life he gives us the steps to following Him in times of despair. Let’s seek to follow Jesus’ example as we encounter trials along life’s path.

As you study Jesus’ life you realize that even though He did not lay aside his deity, He did humble himself as a man, to serve all humanity. So Jesus understands what we are facing in our lives.

Hebrews 2:16-18 (MSG)

It’s obvious, of course, that he didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.

So, since Jesus knows what it is like to suffer like we suffer then He must have had a plan for overcoming these problems. Let’s look at the three Keys to following God in times of despair.

Three Keys to Following God in Times of Despair:

Jesus did what we all must learn to do.

1. Pray for your will to be God’s will.

Matthew 26:39 (GW)

After walking a little farther, he quickly bowed with his face to the ground and prayed, “Father, if it’s possible, let this cup {of suffering} be taken away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine.”

In the most difficult time of Jesus’ life on earth, the night before He was crucified Jesus went to pray. The way he prayed is 180 degrees different than what many churches teach today. A false view is that with enough prayer and enough faith you can get God’s will to become your will. Jesus prayed the way we should. He said. “Father not my will but your will be done.” Prayer is the important ingredient to a submissive and obedient Christian. Prayer is aligning our will with God’s not vice versa.

Like the Christian Prisoner Ivan in the midst of all the horrors of a Soviet prison camp said; One day as he was praying with his eyes closed a fellow prisoner notices him and says with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, Ivan answered, “I do not pray to get out of prison but that I may do the will of God.”

You do this by following the example of Jesus in regards to prayer.

• Adoration – Adore God for who He is.

When Jesus says earlier in His ministry, this is how you should pray; He shows the four keys to effective prayer. I use the ACTS acronym. This begins with Adoration.

Matthew 6:9-10 (NIV)

"This, then, is how you should pray:” Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

When we pray we need to Adore God in our hearts. We don’t need flattering words or even a great deal of words. However we must acknowledge Him as our Father in heaven, bless His name.

Jesus also taught us to take time to admit your sins.

• Confession – Confess your sins.

Matthew 6:12 (NIV)

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Even though Jesus never sinned, He knew we would, and challenges us to be honest before God. Remember Christian, your sins are erased by the blood of Jesus, as is the guilt of your sin, but this does not make you incapable to sin. So when you sin, just be honest. Confess means literally to “say it is so!” Admit you’re a sinner. God loves humility and honors those who are true to their word. Remember He already knows what you have done, He is just waiting for you to admit it.

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