Bethesda News

Holy Week Devotion – Day 4

Wednesday, March 28 2018

Matthew 26:31-46(ESV)

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”


Reflection by: Stephanie Diehl, Teen Program Coordinator, Community Center

What amazes me about this passage is the love and grace Jesus displays towards those around him, even when all they give is empty promises and broken trust. Jesus surrounded himself with his closest friends, and it seems he knows from the start that even they will let him down.  Peter says he would die for Christ, yet moments later, he falls asleep on Jesus –twice! Peter and the others completely abandon Jesus, yet he chose to go to the cross for them anyway.  What an absolutely insane, yet beautiful love he had for them.

The example of Jesus here points me to be more gracious to the people around me. Two summers ago at the Community Center, we were in the throes of “Teen Challenge Week.” It was certainly a staff challenge too, I assure you.  It was car wash day, and the kids were told to only attend if they had an attitude to serve others. It certainly was a challenge! The teens had terrible attitudes the entirety of the day, would not listen to me, and constantly needed redirected. A few were even pretty disrespectful towards me. It made me angry. It broke my heart. I wanted to cry! It was an absolute mess. I had trusted them to do what was expected, and they let me down.

Right as the angry snap-out was ending, almost as if on cue, the most bizarre thing happened.  A rainbow colored, stunning Corvette showed up in the parking lot.  The kids were so excited! But I was a little upset.  They did not deserve this! Not after the way they had acted all day long…but it didn’t stop there.  Turns out that the two guys in the Corvette were both YouTubers.  Which made the kids even more excited! I started to get a little more upset.  Then the guys told us the reason they came to the Community Center. One of the YouTubers had lost a bet to the other, and as a result of his loss, he had to go to Chick-Fil-A, purchase one of everything, and bring it to the kids at the Community Center.

I was SO upset.  HOW is this even fair?! They had been horrible people all day long, yet they get a Corvette, YouTubers, and Chick-Fil-A? Not cool, God!

These are the moments where Jesus reminds me what kind of God He is. He is always gracious and compassionate, even when – especially when – we least deserve it.  These kids may not have deserved it, but that is what grace is all about.  Those disciples abandoned Jesus in his darkest hour.  I abandon him daily, when I find other things around me to be more pressing than just sitting and spending time with him.  Yet he knows my heart, he knew it from the beginning, and he chose to die for me anyway, regardless of my level of loyalty or follow-through.

Maybe you’ve fallen asleep on Jesus when he’s asked you to stay up with Him. Know that He is gracious towards you, and desires relationship with you so much that He died for you to be with Him.  I pray that today you choose to accept His grace, run towards Him, and generously share the grace that you have received with those around you.


QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

  1. Peter declares his loyalty to Jesus here, yet repeatedly lets him down. In spite of this, Jesus used Peter greatly to spread the gospel after his resurrection! What can we learn from Peter’s story?
  2. Can you think of a time when your spirit was willing but your flesh was weak? How can you overcome this?
  3. Have you ever struggled with witnessing someone receiving grace, especially when you felt they didn’t deserve it? Have you ever received grace when someone else may have felt you didn’t deserve it? How did that make you feel?

PRAYER GUIDE

  1. Pray that you would accept His grace and generously share the grace that you have received.
  2. Pray that the teens at the Community Center would receive the grace that God has showered on them and that it would transform their minds and hearts.
  3. Pray for our Community Center staff as they persevere in love for the children, teens, and families that they serve.

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