“Do you love me?” John 21:17
Oh, yes, Lord, I do love you!
With the shortest blog post ever, this 31 Day Challenge has come to an end!
“Judas, are you betraying me with a kiss?” Luke 22:48
During my freshman year of college at Michigan State University, I was in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I was the understudy for Mary Magdalene, which means I had to learn the part, but didn’t get to perform in the role. I did get to sing in the chorus, which included standing on a ten foot pillar while wearing go-go boots and a shimmery sliver dress, singing, “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, who are you? What have you sacrificed?” Hey, it was 1978.
The girl who got the part of Mary Magdalene had long, dark, wavy hair and beautiful, bronzy skin. I’m sure the director was praying that nothing would happen to her. Otherwise, Mary would have had a decidedly mid-west farm girl look, with blonde hair and fair skin. It might have worked in East Lansing, Michigan.
One thing bothered me about the girl who played Mary. She started hanging out with the guy who played Judas. He also had long, dark, wavy hair and beautiful, bronzy skin, so they looked great together, but it didn’t seem right to me. Seeing Mary and Judas walk around campus holding hands made me uneasy.
Standing backstage during the scene of Judas’s betrayal, I remember having goose bumps when Jesus sang, “Judas, must you betray me with a kiss?” His tenor voice in that minor key was full of anguish. I kept a Kleenex tucked in my go-go boots. It got me every time.
In our production, Jesus was portrayed as being surprised at Judas’s method. Of course, Jesus knew there would be a betrayal. He even knew it would be Judas. But I wonder if the warm, intimate greeting took him a bit by surprise.
Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord?
Why did he use a kiss to show them?
That’s not what a kiss is for.
Only a friend can betray a friend,
A stranger has nothing to gain.
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain.
“Why” by Michael Card
“But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:54
By the time Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, he had fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophesies. There were only a few left to complete, but they were going to be the hardest ones. His death on the cross would fulfill twenty-eight prophesies and He knew it.
Maybe that’s why he cried out in a loud voice, “It is finished!”
Because all 353 were crossed off.
Prophesy #350 —
“In My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink” Psalm 69:21 — check
Prophesy #351 —
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Psalm 22:1 — check
Prophesy #352 —
“They divide My clothes among them and cast lots for My garment.” Psalm 22:18 — check
Prophesy #353 —
“Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Psalm 31:5 — check
“It is finished!”
How else could the scriptures be fulfilled?
No other way.
“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53
What stopped Him from calling on His Father that night in the Garden of Gethsemane? When the detachment of soldiers came with their torches and swords, why didn’t He signal for 70,000 angel warriors to swoop down and fight for Him?
He could have called everything off right then.
He could have shown those Pharisees who was boss.
He could have sent those Roman soldiers running.
He could have skipped dying for the world and gone straight to the Father.
Why didn’t He?
Because of me.
“Why are you sleeping?” Luke 22:46
Because it’s the only day I get to sleep in.
Why are you sleeping?
Because I stayed up too late last night.
Why are you sleeping?
Because I work hard all week.
Why are you sleeping?
Because church is boring.
Why are you sleeping?
“The world is sleeping in the dark that the church just can’t fight
‘Cause it’s asleep in the light.
How can you be so dead, when you’ve been so well fed?
Jesus rose from the grave and you, you can’t even get out of bed.
Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed!”
Keith Green, “Asleep in the Light” 1978
“What do you want me to do for you?” Luke 18:40
This question makes me uncomfortable. I kinda wish Jesus hadn’t said it. I don’t know what to do with this one. I would have liked it better if Jesus had asked, “What do you need me to do for you?” After all, God cares about our basic needs. Paul was sure of it — “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory.” (Philippians 4:19) I’m fine with asking for needs.
I would have understood if He had said, “What more do you want me to do for you?” It seems a bit presumptuous for me to expect more from the One who already left glory to become a human and take the punishment for all of my mistakes. How can I ask for more? Especially in light of the fact that I already have more than 80% of the people on this planet?
I don’t believe God wants to give me whatever I want, whenever I want it. Besides, I don’t trust my wants. Most of them are selfish and unnecessary.
Jesus asked a blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”
and he replied, “I want to see.”
Oh. Me too.
“When the Son of Man comes will he find faith on the earth?” Mark 18:8
I can’t speak for the whole earth.
I can only speak for myself.
So when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in me?
How will He know it’s there?
By observing my faithfulness.
And how will my faithfulness be clearly seen?
By the promises I keep.
By my consistent devotion.
By my regular presence at worship.
By a steady walk of obedience.
By resisting temptation to make much of myself.
By standing firm in the face of a changing culture.
I pray He won’t have to look too hard to find faith on the earth.
Or in me.
“My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Matthew 18:1
When PB calls all the kids up for the children’s sermon, there is a stampede of little feet up the aisles. The little ones love sitting up in front next to their pastor. They are eager to hear a story from the Bible.
Or maybe it’s the Tootsie Pops.
One thing I’ve noticed through the years —
the right answer to every question in every children’s sermon is always “Jesus”.
“Whose birthday do we celebrate at Christmas?” JESUS!
“What is Easter really all about?” JESUS!
“Who loves you more than anybody?” JESUS!
You can’t go wrong by answering just about any question at church with “JESUS!”
Which is why this question might have thrown the disciples off a bit.
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
It’s gotta be “JESUS!”
One of those two.
Has to be.
The Master Himself answered the question by calling a little child to come and stand in the middle of twelve men who were jockeying for an exalted position in the coming Kingdom.
Here’s how to be great: be like a child.
Be like Jesus.
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” Matthew 7:9-10
What kind of father would give this sweet-faced child a hunk of rock if he asked for a piece of buttered toast with strawberry jam on top?
What sort of mother would put a slithery snake on the highchair tray of this charmer if what he wanted was a Gorton’s Crunchy Breaded Fish Stick?
What parent could even think about giving this cutey-patooty a creepy-crawly scorpion instead of a scrambled egg cooked in the shape of a smiley face?
What if these two darlin’s asked for one of Nonnie’s special chocolate chip cookies? Would she give them an SOS pad to chew on? No she would not!
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11