Matthew 26; Psalm 144
Substituting for Pastor Jeremiah today is guest writer Ralph M.
One of the lines from the most recent Star Wars anthology film Solo that resonated with me today was delivered by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson): "Assume everyone will betray you, and you will never be disappointed." Indeed, in the final hours of Jesus' life, it was one sort of betrayal after another from His closest friends and apostles to the Jews who had the opportunity to first hear about the Gospel. In the hours of loneliness and darkness that His soul was heaving with, what was His antidote to that? It was prayer. Long hours of emotional, intimate prayer with God. It seems like after He was done with his marathon prayer, He faced His accusers silently and watched His friends walk away from Him in silence. Was His prayer of the cup of suffering being taken away from Him granted? It wasn't. Was His resignation signified by His silence? Perhaps. But in the midst of the emotional turmoil and suffering He was experiencing, He knew one thing: without His suffering, those who have caused Him harm, suffering, pain and betrayal will not have any means of being reconciled to God. If that was the case, then even people in the past and the future will not have any means of reconciling with God, consigning themselves to eternal damnation in hell. It is in these multiple complicated layers of emotions and stakes that we find the human-God Jesus facing the Sanhedrin. On one hand, He can command His angels to slaughter them, asserting His dominance over humanity. On the other hand, He can stay silent and experience the most gruesome torture humanity can ever inflict on a human being. In His hour of extreme need, He chose not to run away or self-medicate, but rather chose to commune with God, letting Him know how He felt despite knowing that God's plan will not change just because He said a magic prayer. Even though He did not expect God to grant His wish, He still prayed. That is the hardest thing to do as a Christian; when all hope is lost and all you can do is pray. But this is exactly the next step in our relationship with God: when we pray even though we know that God may not grant our prayer, just because we know that we have to bring everything to Him in prayer, warts and all. That kind of faith will help us weather the suffering and storms of lives, even the betrayal of our closest friends and family, as well as the future of pain and suffering.