Lessons From Jesus
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Lesson # 3: Your Friends Will Abandon You But God Won't
The Gospel accounts show the disciples failing Jesus at the very time he needed them most. Three times he asked them to watch and to pray for him, and three times he came back to find them asleep.
When you are facing death or extreme suffering, don't be surprised if even your family and closest friends let you down. They are not going through what you are and have difficulty facing up to the pain of watching you suffer.
One way they will try to avoid the pain is to pretend it is not happening or to avoid seeing you suffering. But the Bible repeatedly records God saying that he will never let us down or abandon us. DEUTERONOMY 31:6 and 8 ; PSALM 27:10 ; HEBREWS 13:5
Lesson #4: God Always Hears Our Prayers & Answers - But Not Necessarily The Way We Want
Did God the Father answer the prayers of God the Son?
Some writers (for example Pete Greig GOD ON MUTE pages 15-17) seem to suggest that he didn't. But HEBREWS 5:7 says God heard Jesus' prayers because of his submission to God's will.
God answered his prayer of submission by taking him through the suffering, not out of it, as Jesus had prayed.
Did he want to go through the agony of crucifixion? Clearly not. But he was willing to submit to God the Father's will, rather than expecting God to drop everything and do things his way.
The key is to pray for God's will to be done and his kingdom-rule to come in every situation.
Lesson # 5: The Pain Now Is Part Of The Joy To Come
The writer of HEBREWS 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame, because of the joy set before him. He was willing to undergo suffering because he knew God was in it and would take him through it safely to the other side.
Suffering now will pale into insignificance when we see Jesus face to face.
Lesson # 6: When The Chips Are Down, God Is All I Have
After suffering six hours of agony on Good Friday, Jesus finally committed himself entirely into the hands of his heavenly Father with the words "Into your hands I commit my spirit." LUKE 23:46, quoting PSALM 31:5.
One of our biggest problems is the need to be in control. Our rebellious human nature likes to be in control and do its own thing.
That's why Jesus told his disciples (MARK 8:34): "If you want to follow me, you need to -
• DENY YOURSELF ie not my will, but God's will
• TAKE UP YOUR CROSS ie die to your own ideas and plans
• FOLLOW JESUS ie go where he leads instead of barging ahead on our own
When everything else is lying shattered around me, I have to let go of my need to be in control and entrust myself to God.