Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 10, 2011 … They ALL Failed the Test

Passage of the Day: Matthew 26: 56b 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then ALL the disciples deserted him and fled.

My Journal for Today: Above I capitalized the word “ALL” for emphasis. That word “all” in that passage is the Greek word “pas,” which is used almost 1300 times in the New Testament; and it means just what it says. It means “each and every one” of Jesus’ disciples cut and ran. If this had been test of their Christlikeness or a measurement of the maturity of their discipleship, how would these men have done on the test?

I capitalized that word “ALL” for emphasis so that we can see that ALL of Jesus’ closest disciples fled when the pressure was on. ALL of them, fearing for their lives as Jesus was arrested, cut and ran. And these were men who had walked with their declared “Messiah” for three years. They had seen Him perform all of those miracles recorded in the Gospel accounts … turning water into wine … walking on water … calming a raging sea with a wave of his hand … feeding the multitudes with a few fishes and loaves, … healing all those people; … and even witnessing Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. And three of their number had seen Jesus transformed on the Mount of Transfiguration. And yet, ALL – not some of them, … but ALL - of the remaining disciples fled when their “Messiah,” the One they had declared to be the Son of God, was taken away by the soldiers. I don’t know about you; but personally, the facts surrounding this event are hard for me to grasp.

Oh, it’s so easy to ask, “How could they do this?!!” But I wonder if I would not have been the same cowering disciple as these men were given that test of my discipleship. Earlier I referred to Cassie Bernall’s simple faith with a gun to her head at Columbine High School. She didn’t run or deny her Lord as did Peter and the other inner-circle Disciples. No … like Jesus, Cassie Bernall died for her faith. Wow, … I would hope and pray that I could be like Cassie, especially since, like her, I have the benefit of the biblical account of our Lord dying on the cross for my sins; and I have declared in faith, here in this safe place, that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Actually, to be fair to the disciples who ran that day, sometime later, after they witnessed the cross and the resurrection and the ascension, they all died, save John, the death of martyrs for their faith. These men were not cowards down deep in their hearts; but they were very human; and as we know from the truth of Jeremiah 17: 9, we humans have hearts which are wicked and deceitful to the core of our being. We ALL have in us the capability of failing the test of loyalty to our Savior when the consequences are dire and our very lives are threatened.

When the real testing comes, we must ask ourselves if we can live up to Paul’s exhortations to stand in the gap when the times get tough (see Eph. 5: 15 – 16 below) ...

SCRIPTURE: Eph 5: 1515 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

So, … can we stand with Christ … or rather, can we walk with Him and follow Him … wherever He leads us? [see Luke 9: 23] Can we walk worthily in His steps, calling ourselves “Christian?” [see Eph. 4: 1] Well, of course, it’s not easy. And we may pass the ultimate test of discipleship, as did Cassie Bernall, even when we’re called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for our Lord. Go ahead … ask the big test question on God’s pop-quiz of followership here in this safe place.

The question looms large; ... will we pass the test? Will we stand for our Savior and deny self? Will we stand for purity and against sin in a culture which beckons us to fall into line with Satan rather than the Savior? ... Will we?!!

But we know, in our faith, that it’s worth it to stay the course … not to “cut and run;” … but to fight the fight … to witness for our Lord no matter the circumstances. Hopefully, we’ve learned our lesson from that of group of Jesus’ disciples who got the ultimate lesson in fear versus faith. Only with God’s strength can we prevail (and I hope you all know, believe, and live the truths found in Rom 8: 31, Phil. 4: 13, 2nd Tim. 1: 7, and 2nd Cor. 12: 9). Because, if we do live - with belief - these truths, we will pass the test.

My Prayer Today: Help me, Lord, to be faithful when it counts. Amen

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