God Knows…When Somebody Lets Me Down – Part 2
After Judas hurried away, Jesus gave some parting words of cheer and advice to the remaining disciples
Words of Love
“I won’t be with you much longer,” He told them. “Where I’m going you cannot come. I want to give you a new commandment, that you love one another; as I have loved you. Then people will know that you are My followers” (John 13:33-35). God’s commandments had always been built on love: love for God and love for man. What was new about it? A new example of love. Jesus was a perfect pattern of total love.
The disciples felt frightened when Jesus said He was leaving, “Lord, where are you going?” asked Peter.
“You can’t follow Me now,” said Jesus.
“Why not?” Peter asked. “Even if everyone leaves you, I won’t. I’d lay down my life for you!”
“Would you, Peter?” Jesus responded. “Tonight all of you will be scattered, and Peter, this very night, before the cock crows twice you will deny Me three times.” Peter didn’t believe it.
Jesus wanted to give hope to His friends. “Let not your heart be troubled,” He said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Jesus, God’s Son, joined the human race on earth so that humans can someday join God in heaven if they choose His way.
Tenderly Jesus “read His will” to His dear friends. He had no palace, no jewels, no fine horses to leave them. He wanted to leave them with something even more valuable. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Closing His talk, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In the Garden
The disciples sang a song before going with Jesus to a garden called Gethsemane. Jesus left most of the disciples near its entrance, asking them to pray. Peter, James, and John went with Jesus into the garden. Jesus went a little beyond them and fell to the ground in prayer.
His beautiful prayer is found in John 17. One thing He said was this: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” We cannot run away from the problems of everyday living. But God can help us face and solve them. A canoe belongs in the water. But water does not belong in the canoe. For now, we belong in the world, but the ways of the world do not belong in us.
Jesus rose with painful effort and went back to where His closest friends were. He found them asleep (Remember Peter’s big promise of devotion?) Now His gentle voice awoke them. “Watch and pray,” Jesus advised, “lest you enter into temptation.”
Again, in agony with the weight of His mission and the sin of humanity, Jesus went to pray. “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Satan was trying so hard to talk Jesus into giving up His mission. Why not let this dark world get what it deserves? Why not go right back home to His loving Father? The fate of humanity was at stake.
Three times Jesus prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Three times Jesus found His friends sleeping, when He longed for comfort and support. Yet Jesus made His final decision: I will save man no matter how much it costs me.
A mob could be heard as Jesus spoke to His friends the third time. “Rise, let us be going,” He said. “See, My betrayer is at hand.” Roman soldiers, priests, and Judas gathered surrounded Jesus. Jesus did not resist when Judas walked up and kissed him. It was the sign Judas had told Christ’s enemies he would use to indicate which man should be arrested.
The frightened disciples watched as Jesus let the soldiers tie His hands. “Let’s get out of here,” suggested Peter. All of the disciples abandoned Jesus and fled.
Peter and John mustered enough courage to trail behind the mob at a distance. With shouts and mocking laughter, the mob rushed Jesus off to the palace of Annas, the senior high priest. There Jesus was questioned and mistreated, but Annas couldn’t find any basis for a charge. So he ordered soldiers to take Jesus to Caiaphas, the younger high priest.
John and Peter were both able to enter the judgment hall. John stood quietly alone to see what would happen. But Peter thought it would be better to mix with the crowd and not let on he was a friend of Christ. He warmed his hands at a fire in the courtyard. But a servant girl said, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”
“I am not,” said Peter. As she left, a cock crowed.
The illegal night trial went on. Again someone noticed Peter by the fire. “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Swearing, a frightened Peter declared, “I do not know the man!”
Perhaps an hour later, a servant asked Peter, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with Him? Besides, you talk like a Galilean.” This time Peter flew into a rage. With cursing and swearing He denied knowing Jesus. A cock crowed again. Peter suddenly remembered Jesus’ words. He glanced up at Jesus just in time to see a sad look of love he would remember to his dying day. Peter thought his heart would break. Out of the hall and down dark streets he ran. He didn’t care where he was going. Finally he threw himself on the ground and cried his eyes out, asking for forgiveness.
Jesus responds to us the same way He responded to Peter. When I let Him down, He looks at me with love. He offers me forgiveness. And if somebody else lets ME down, Jesus can help me react the same way He did.
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