Tuesday, November 01, 2005

And He Said, "I am he"

After Christ lays with His face in the ground in prayer and willfully submitted His walk in the most trying time of His life to the Father He rose up. It is immediately after He chose to walk in God's will for His life (and death) that He was confronted. With a small army Judas shows up to betray Christ.

I cannot imagine how the must have hurt our Lord. Someone He loved, traveled with, and taught for three years, was turning Him over to die an excruciating death. Someone He had protected, fed, worked miracles in front of, and probably shared quite a few laughs with - His friend - was having Him killed for a lousy thirty pieces of silver.

In my own life I have had people disappoint and betray me, but nothing done to me could compare to the betrayal Christ endured that night. And yet I have found myself completely heartbroken, nearly unable to breathe from the crushing pain of the needless and senseless acts against me. Yet Christ, being handed over to be tortured and killed walked confident steps.

We do not see Him doubt what He knew God wanted Him to do. He stepped forward and asked "whom seek ye?" (John 18:4) When they told Him they sought Jesus of Nazareth He could have easily said that He wasn't who they were looking for. I'm quite sure His disciples would have gone along with whatever He said. And who really would have blamed Him? He could have avoided pain, ridicule, humiliation, torture, and death. Yet, He did not turn. He did not lie. He stepped forward and declared for all to hear, "I am he."

I imagine He said it in strength, fully knowing the repercussions of this statement. I imagine He felt God's Spirit on Him as He publically declared who He was, despite knowing what awaited Him. Such strength comes only from God.

I believe that is why He had spent His final free moments in prayer rather than saying good bye to His mother and friends who hadn't been with Him at the Last Supper. He understood how difficult and painful this was going to be and He understood without a renewing of the Father's Spirit He would falter.

There was such a strength in His declaration that the mob was literally knocked off their feet! (John 18:16)

Moments before we see Christ, the Glorious Son of the Living God, on His face in prayer. We see Him in such a human way. Then after choosing to continue on in God's will we see peace and strength that went beyond humanly possibilities. He knew what had to be done. He did not resist His captures, He healed the man whom Peter injured (vs 10-11) and told Peter to put the sword away. He went without hesitation to stand in a fixed trial, fearlessly He perused God's plan. Even as the Romans nailed His beaten and bruised body to the cross He prayed for them.

This seems unthinkable. And indeed, it is if you only walk in the flesh. But if we go to God and submit every aspect of our lives to His will He blesses us. He gives us a strength that surpasses anything we could do on our own.

It is only in prayer and following His will that we can accomplish things that our flesh couldn't otherwise stand up to. And this is why the Bible tells us to pray consistently. It is in prayer we found our strength to do the seemingly impossible through God's spirit.

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.(1 Thessalonians 5:15-18)

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