222: The Passion – The Shadow of the Cross

I don’t know how you would respond in this situation, accused, slandered and betrayed with an agonisingly painful death awaiting you. I know, I know, it was different for him, He was the Son of God after all, He knew the joy that was set before Him, the glory that would be His in heaven. But in that moment He was flesh and blood, the betrayal hurt, the beatings hurt, the nails hurt and the separation from the Father and his presence would be horrific.

Words for the Week

John 18:4-8 

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

John 18:35-37

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John 19:7-11

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

pilate

Writer’s Thoughts

Yes it was the joy that was set before Him that enabled Jesus to endure the cross, but what was it that enabled Him to get to the cross without turning back, are there clues for us hidden in these passages, that bring life and light in the midst of dark situations?

“knowing all that was going to happen to him.”
Sometimes I think it is the kindness of God that He doesn’t show us all that is ahead and all we will go through, because I’m not sure we would be brave enough to carry on if we knew. Often though I don’t know because I don’t ask, and I miss out on the comfort that comes from knowing that He knows and is not surprised or overwhelmed by my situation. We forget that God has not been caught off guard by what has happened and He already has a plan of action prepared if we would only ask. “God knows” can be an incredible comfort when we are shocked and unsure how to navigate certain circumstances in life.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King

“In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.”
Jesus never loses sight of who He is and why He was on the planet. Who you are and the gift you are meant to be is not changed by your circumstances. I have been profoundly changed by encounters I have had with Christians who have been in pain and restricted in their movement. Yet, my intention to bless them and minister to them has been reversed, and I leave knowing I have encountered Jesus powerfully through them. They are still being who they were meant to be and being such a gift to others even though their circumstances are so difficult.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

“You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”
Jesus knows that God is in control and that this is all part of the plan. This is a tough one and I don’t comment on this lightly! I don’t fully understand and can’t address here free-will choice, the sovereignty of God, etc But to know that in every circumstance God is still God & has not left His throne, changed His character or lost His power gives me hope. In some circumstances I know that God being God is my only hope and that whatever happens I will be with Him for eternity and then it will be made right, if not before!

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pains” C.S Lewis

Own it personally…

God knows that pain of any kind can isolate us, we can chose to shut down, put a wall up or put all our energy into coping or fighting. The things that Jesus speaks in His journey towards the cross call to us to lean into God again, to recognise our need of Him and choose to invite Him in.

Today you might like to pour out your heart to God, tell him where you are and ask Him to speak. Remember He alone knows it all, He knows.

Who are you, what gift has God put in you to give to the world? If you are struggling to believe you are any kind of gift, ask God how he sees you, or ask someone in your homegroup to pray for you, or book a prophecy slot at Woodies and ask God to speak through others about how he sees you.

Finally, put God in charge. Put Him back on the throne of your life and ask Him to bring His Kingdom into your life in a fresh way, ask Him to show you the resurrection power of the cross in your life.

Speak it Out – Pray and Prophesy

Use Psalm 25 to pray to God or listen to this song ‘It is well’ and let it speak truth over your circumstances.

“When you say that a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.”
Charles L Allen

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