Futility of the Flesh

Jesus was “arrested.” It was a false arrest which didn’t trouble the religious authorities. His disciples fled in fear. It appears in Mark 14:51-54 that some had second thoughts: “And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about (his) naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed Him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.” From this account, we can learn two important lessons. The first lesson is that no matter how determined the “flesh” is, it doesn’t have staying power. Any degree of success the “flesh” might have can only result in pride over what we did. The second lesson is that the “flesh” will always mingle with the “world.” The young man that meant well, suddenly realizing his personal danger, took off naked, leaving his clothing behind. Talk about panic! Peter, on the other hand, tried to keep a low profile. He mingled with the servants (of the leaders) and warmed himself at the fire. The “flesh” always allures us to “warm” ourselves with the things of this world. Peter ultimately denied Jesus; efforts of the “flesh” are completely futile! We might well heed the wisdom found in the first stanza of, “Jesus Paid It All,” by Elvina M. Hall: “I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small, child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.” Selah! God’s strength is imparted by spending much quality time in His Word, and prayer helps us internalize the Spiritual Truth we find in Scripture. A well worn Bible usually belongs to a saint who has worn well.   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

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God Give Us Faithfulness to the End!

The time had come for Jesus to be betrayed and brought to trial. Imagine putting God on trial! What the sinful hearts of men can bring them to do! Mark 14:43-50 tells us part of the events surrounding the betrayal: “And immediately, while He yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed Him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He; take Him, and lead (him) away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to Him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed Him. And they laid their hands on Him, and took Him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took Me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him, and fled.” In that brief time, those closest to Jesus failed Him! But He never failed them! And we fail Him, but He never fails us! Reflect on these timely words in Arthur A Luther’s hymn, “Jesus Never Fails.” He penned: “In life’s dark and bitter hour, love will still prevail; trust His everlasting pow’r — Jesus will not fail!” He was failed in His darkest hours; He will not fail us in our darkest hours. That’s love and grace!! Selah! Can we learn from this and draw strength from Him to be faithful unto the end?    Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

 

A Gentle Rebuke

Having prayed for the Father’s will to be done, rather than His own, Jesus arose from prayer. Mark 14:37-42 tells us what happened next: “And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? Couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly (is) ready, but the flesh (is) weak. And again He went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when He returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy), neither wist they what to answer Him. And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.” Jesus longed to have His disciples unite with Him in prayer. For whatever reason, they fell iasleep and Jesus prayed alone. Eventually, He roused them from sleep, chided them for being unable to pray one hour, and admonished them: “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly (is) ready, but the flesh (is) weak.” He went to pray again, by Himself, and returned to find them asleep once more. He again prayed alone! In words that probably never were heard, He sadly said, “Sleep on!” Somewhat after that, He awakened them and announced that His betrayal was at hand. Meditate on these stanzas from, “Alone, a hymn by Ben H. Price: “It was alone the Savior prayed in dark Gethsemane; alone He drained the bitter cup and suffered there for me. Alone upon the cross He hung that others He might save; forsaken then by God and man, alone, His life He gave. Can you reject such matchless love?  Can you His claim disown? Come, give your all in gratitude, nor leave Him thus alone. Alone, alone, He bore it all alone;  He gave Himself to save His own,  He suffered, bled and died alone, alone.” Selah! In our human ability, we are unable to truly pray. We can go through the motions (and even fall asleep) but real prayer is only possible by drawing on our Spiritual resources. Quality, not quantity, must define our prayer lives. Sometimes prayer will be brief; sometimes extended, but let’s be sure to offer quality prayer, in His strength.   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

 

 

Incomprehensible Agony!

It had come very near. A horrible death was about to be inflicted on Jesus. He was born to die! He lived His thirty plus years with the awareness of the impending Cross. None of us can even begin to understand what agony of soul He suffered. There would be horrible physical pain and misery but also something far worse. He did the only thing that made it possible to go through with it; He prayed! We read about it in Mark 14:32-36. It was a time of intense prayer: “And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And He taketh with him Peter and James and  John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me: nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” What He agonized over was way beyond the physical torture! He agonized over having to bear, on His Holy, pure Person, all the staggering evil and corruption of all of human sin, for the entire human race, for all of time! If He didn’t do this, the entire race would be forever separated from God! Your sin(s), my sin(s) were piled upon His being and He took the punishment that would have been ours! May our grateful determination match that of Jennie E. Hussey’s, in her hymn, “Lead Me to Calvary,” She wrote: King of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be: lest I forget Thy thorn crowned brow, lead me to Calvary. Lest I forget Gethsemane; lest I forget Thine agony; lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary. Selah! May we give ourselves over to Him, Who loved us so! May we crown Him King of our lives!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

 

The Certain Failure of the Flesh

Peter “felt” that He would not fail to be faithful to Jesus. Even with personal danger to himself, he would stand firm; he would not flee in fear or fail to stand up for his Lord. In Mark 14:29-31, we have the record of conversation between Jesus and Peter: “But Peter said unto Him, (Jesus) Although all shall be offended, yet (will) not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.” They were confident in their own strength to maintain loyalty to Jesus. They soon discovered that what they thought and what they did were two different things. Only as we grow in faith, learn not to trust our human, fleshly ability and come to rely on God’s imparted strength, can we expect to stand firm in trials. God alone can provide the strength to enable us to be faithful even unto death. We don’t have that kind of strength from any human source! John E. Bode, in his hymn, “O Jesus, I Have Promised,” provides valuable insights on how to draw on God’s strength: “O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end; be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend; I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side, nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide. Oh, let me hear Thee speaking in accents clear and still, I dare not trust my judgment: Thy way shall be my will; Oh, speak to reassure me, to hasten or control; Oh, speak, and help me listen, Thou Guardian of my soul.  Oh, let me see Thy footprints, and in them plant mine own; my hope to follow duly is in Thy strength alone; Oh, guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end; and then in Heav’n receive me, my Savior and my Friend. Selah! If God strengthens me, He receives the glory; if I try in my own strength, who do you suppose that I want to have the glory?    Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

 

Soon, Now!

Jesus’ time on earth at His first coming was almost over and He was preparing His disciples for what was about to develop. Jesus was soon to be arrested, brutally treated and killed! Mark 14:25-28 records His conversation: “Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.” Jesus holds out the promise of a future time when they again will share a sacred communion supper together on the victory side of the coming sorrow. They had a hymn of praise and then left for the mount of Olives. He applied this prophecy to Himself; He, their Shepherd, was going to be smitten and they, His sheep, were going to be scattered! Those tragic hours had begun to unfold. In sharing this with His men, He pointed to a future thrilling time to come. He will return to life and greet them in Galilee. In those few words their minds are guided from tragic hours to triumphant accomplishments! Robert Lowry’s hymn, “Low in the Grave He Lay,” moves our minds and hearts from the grave to the glory: “Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord! Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior, vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord! Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior; He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord! Up from the grave He arose; with a mighty triumph o’er His foes; He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever, with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” Selah! The reality of that triumph is the indwelling legacy of His victory, that has been given to all who have been born again!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com
 

 

A Solemn Evening

In that upper room, Jesus shared a solemn supper with His disciples. Mark 14:22-24 gives us the record: “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake (it,) and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is My body. And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave (it) to them: and they all drank of it.  And He said unto them, This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” As they took bread, Jesus used that food to represent His body being broken. He was soon to be horribly wounded for our sin(s). He was letting them know that it was going to be done. When they drank from their cups, He pointed out that it represented the pouring out, the shedding, of His precious blood to atone for sin(s). He then added that His very blood was the price of the new testament (covenant, contract, guarantee). His holy blood sealed the covenant. The price was paid; the covenant was then in force, forever! Jesus’ sacrifice provided forgiveness, cleansing, redemption, adoption, relationship, fellowship, and more. It was the ultimate, infinite, only sufficient means for our salvation. In the hymn, “When Jesus Died on Calvary, When Jesus Died,” by C. S. Hamilton, we have some of the most challenging thoughts on this sacrifice found anywhere in all of our hymns: “When on the Cross, those cruel nails gave me a Christ that never fails, a Christ from Whose wounds there came a flow that saves from sin, how much I owe! How much I owe for love divine, how much I owe that Christ is mine? But what He did for me I know I cannot tell how much I owe!” Selah! Praise God! Thanks be unto God: “The blood of Jesus reaches deeper than the stain of sin has gone!” (Source unknown).   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com