(Second Milers also read – Psalms 71 – 75; Memorize Acts 1:8)
“And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (Matthew 26:22)
“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” – (Matthew 26:56)
Bear with me for a moment while I tell you a little bit about my morning so far. My alarm clock went off as it does every morning at 5 AM. I am supposed to actually get up at that time in order to take my morning “walk with the Lord”. This morning I didn’t actually get out of bed until close to 6, and then I had to rush over to the church for our corporate Saturday morning prayer meeting. During the prayer meeting, I read an excerpt out of Leonard Ravenhill’s book, “Why Revival Tarries”. Ravenhill states in his book:
“The tragedy of this late hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people.”
“By our attitude to prayer we tell God that what was begun in the Spirit we can finish in the flesh…. Yet ministers who do not spend two hours a day in prayer are not worth a dime a dozen, degrees or no degrees.”
I was already feeling pretty bad about my lack of spiritual character and then I came home and read chapter 26 from Matthew’s gospel. If ever there was a passage of Scripture that demonstrates our utter helplessness without the Lord, it is this chapter. When I have morning’s like this, and read chapters like this, I am reminded that I am indeed “but dust”. The problem is that most of the time I actually convince myself that I am God’s gift to the ministry. I often like to look at other people and think about all of their flaws and weaknesses, but most of the time I can’t think of any of my own. Oh, how clever and deceitful our flesh is. In this chapter, we will see how some of the greatest Christians that ever lived failed in their flesh as well. By the way, I am not trying to find comfort from the fact that my weak flesh has some good company. We are not supposed to compare ourselves amongst ourselves anyway; but I do find comfort knowing that our Lord continues to love this bunch of spiritual losers (myself included), in spite of all of their failures.
Consider some points from this passage:
1 “But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?” – (Matthew 26:8) When the disciples observed a woman who worshipped the Lord by pouring a very expensive ointment on Him, they were angry. Why should any of us be angry when someone else expresses their love and devotion to the Lord. Who are we to judge anyone else’s motives, even when we might not agree with their particular action.
2 “Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. … But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. … Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.” – (Matthew 26:35, 56, 74) Notice in these verses the pride of, not only Peter, but all of the disciples. They all boasted about their ability to stay true to the Lord. Unfortunately, we also see that when their faith is tested that it fails miserably.
3 “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. … Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. … And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” – (Matthew 26:36, 38, 40) Notice in these verses that the disciples could not even stay awake and pray with the Lord for one hour; and this was when the Lord could really have been blessed by their support.
4 “Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.” – (Matthew 26:48-49) Here we see the ultimate act of the flesh – a complete betrayal of the Lord.
I want us now to go back and consider the question all of the disciples asked themselves in v 22, when the Lord stated that one of them would betray Him – “Is it I?” The disciples knew that they all were weak enough to betray the Lord, and they all thought that it was a real possibility that they might be the one. I want to ask the question to myself as well, and then answer it. Yes it’s me. Yes, I have gotten indignant and jealous because of what others have done to express their love and worship to the Lord. Yes, I have been proud and self-righteous, and confident in my own flesh as Peter was; and yes, I have certainly denied the Lord more than once by either an action or attitute, or a lack of action. And yes, I have slept when I should have been praying, studying, preparing, soulwinning, counselling, etc. And, Yes I know that my flesh is capable of even betraying the Lord. It’s me, it’s me, it’s me Oh Lord; and I am certainly standing in the need of prayer. “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death.”
Lord, deliver me from this self-righteous, proud, boastful, and always failing flesh. Help me to completely put my trust in You, and help me to never try to steal any of your Glory. Strengthen me through Your Word and through a personal, quiet time of fellowship, prayer and worship. And most of all help me to be faithful to you, and to never deny You or betray You again.
Thank the Lord that even though we are often unfaithful to Him, HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US OR FORESAKE US!
Posted in Thoughts from Matthew by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.