Author: Jason Chan, Associate Pastor, Youth Ministries, South Bay Chinese Gospel Church, Milpitas
47 While he [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” 55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.(Matthew 26:47-56, NIV)
We would expect Jesus to be discouraged or even frustrated by such succession of “unfortunate” events, Jesus being betrayed by his very own disciple (vv. 47-50), another disciple’s gross failing to understand God’s redemptive plan on the sufferings of Christ (vv. 51-54), and Jesus being personally abandoned by his own team in the coldness of that night (vv. 55-56). Given the darkness of such an evening, it would be easy for any leader to be paralyzed with a sense of failure. Yet amidst the chaos, Jesus shines with a confidence and peace that exudes for all of us to absorb; an unmatched sense of purpose that burns, even till his impending death at the cross. What is the secret of such fiery determination? The mystery is revealed through one of Jesus’ earlier dialogue with his disciples, as recorded in John 16. In verse 32, Jesus claims, “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” Back then, Jesus anticipated correctly that times will be harsh, as evident later through both the betrayal and abandonment of Matthew 26. Yet Jesus thrives amidst such hardships, only because he takes comfort and healing in the faithfulness and presence of God, His Father. Are you feeling paralyzed with a sense of failure or wandering through a dark and confusing period in you life? Then surrender yourself through Jesus to the faithfulness and care of God, Your Father. His presence will re-ignite your soul.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior