The Scripture that I am pondering today is Matthew 26: 47-68. It is the account of what happens when Jesus comes down from the mountain.
Once back into real life, things for him very quickly become horrific. Judas betrays him. Witnesses lie about him. The priests accuse him. Peter denies him.
When I look through that list I see people who knew Jesus, some of them very well.
Judas was one of his closest followers. The witnesses had been present to hear him preach and teach and may have even witnessed the miracles. The priests who supposedly knew the word of God accused Jesus of subverting that word, and even of blasphemy. Peter, one of his most trusted confidants denied knowing him, not once but three times.
It is so easy to look at that list and believe that we are not like them. It is easy to see ourselves as people outside of the Biblical story, people who would not treat Jesus as the others have treated him.
I have to wonder. I am a follower of Jesus, but how many times have I held my tongue as others attacked what I believe about him? How often have I smoothed over a situation and therein betrayed the way that Jesus asks me to live?
I have to wonder. I have heard the words of Jesus and been inspired by them, I have even known the power of his grace active in my life, and how often have I misrepresented his word and his actions to others?
I have to wonder. I have been a degree in theological studies, yet how often do I not understand when the word of God is spoken to me, and completely discount what the messenger is telling me?
I have to wonder. I love Jesus and I do want to be his follower, but how often do I with my words and action deny him?
I don’t wonder these things in order to beat myself up. I recognize that I am as human as each of those people in the Biblical account. I realize that as a human I am incapable of living the perfect life. And I am immensely grateful that my life is lived in the grace of Christ.
And that grace is what this story ultimately leads us to. Jesus willingly went to the cross to suffer and die for those who betrayed him, lied about him, falsely accused him and denied knowing him. His grace was big enough to love them in spite of how they treated him. His grace is big enough to love me, in my failures of faith, in my struggles with living as a disciple, and in all the other ways in which I miss the life he asks me to live.
I recognize that the life he asks me to live is not an enormous task, it is rather a blessing in which I am lifted up to be the person I was created to be. I may have flaws and I may make mistakes, but I am still his disciple and through prayer and attention to how he calls me to live I can find the blessing of being who I was created to be. And that ultimately is what all of us are meant to learn… our growth in Christ frees us to be who we really are–God’s children with a purpose and a calling. With faith, prayer and attentive listening we will all discover who we are.
Today’s prayer: purpose and calling
Praise be to you O God, for you have created me, loved me and called me into your grace.
Unite my will with yours that I may be all I am called to be
Reach into the depths of my being and fill me with your love
Prepare me to be your child and your servant
Open my ears, my mind and my heart to hear you speaking
Show me how I have failed, but lift my up by showing me how I have shown your love and your grace
Energize me with your love that I may engage your world with grace
Announce your presence in my life every day
Nurture in me a desire to meet with you daily
Direct me in your will
Create a new heart within me
Approach me with your grace
Lead me in your way
Link me with your Holy Spirit
Invite me to walk with you again and again
Never let me go
Great praise be to you now and forever. Amen
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