Thursday, March 28, 2013


“And they all forsook him and fled.” Mark 14:50

         On the night before his Crucifixion, Jesus stood before Caiaphas, the high priest, and was questioned about His disciples (Jno. 18:19). If He was this great spiritual leader, where were all his faithful followers? Good question. As a matter of fact, they had all forsaken Him. Two of them were within hearing distance (vv. 15-17), but they were not offering any rebuttal to the accusations being made against Him or giving witness of the miracles they had seen Him do. One of them was denying Him, openly and vehemently. Yet Jesus refused to name any of His disciples, telling Caiaphas that nothing had been done in secret, and all he had to do was ask those who had seen and heard Him speak. This would have been a good place for those two disciples to speak up, but it was not to be.

         Even worse, as this sinless Man hung on a shameful, torturing cross, the final and most devastating show of rejection came from the One of whom it was said, “When my mother and father forsake me, then the LORD will take me up”(Psl. 27:10). In order for your sins and mine to be forgiven and obliterated, and in accord with the enormity of our those transgressions, it was necessary for His eternal, heavenly Father to turn His back on Him. But the Man on the Cross, who was tempted in every possible way you and I can be tempted (Heb. 4:15), did not suffer this denunciation as the All-knowing God, but the heartbroken, obedient Son.

I have often heard it said or preached that Satan considered the Cross a triumph, but I tend to agree with C.S. Lewis, who, in The Screwtape Letters, portrayed it as a time of horror for him, because, as the elder devil, Screwtape, tells his young nephew, “Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s (God’s) will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” We read in Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” And the obedience and death included being forsaken by all…even His Father.

         When you and I feel forsaken and alone, we can know that Jesus, our Great High Priest in Glory, has suffered it all before us, and can sympathize in a way no one else can, especially when we feel forsaken by God, as David did (Psl. 22:1). Our sin may separate us from God for a time, but He can never forsake us. The rejection of His Son on the Cross provided eternal acceptance for us. Bless His Name!

         Tell me; are you and I capable of temporarily denying and forsaking the Lord, as the disciples did? I don’t know about you, but I don’t judge my devotion to Him to be any greater than theirs. When we allow His name and His Word to be sullied or slandered, are we not quaking outside Caiaphas’ palace just like those two disciples?

When I was a girl, the choir used to sing an old song with these simple, but searching words:

They tried my Lord and Master,
With no one to defend;
Within the halls of Pilate
He stood without a friend.

The world may turn against Him,
I’ll love Him to the end,
And while on earth I’m living,
My Lord shall have a friend.

I’ll do what He may bid me;
I’ll go where He may send;
I’ll try each fleeting moment
To prove that I’m His friend.

To all who need a Savior,
My Friend I recommend;
Because He brought salvation,
Is why I am His friend.

         I’ll be a friend to Jesus,
         My life for Him I’ll spend;
         I’ll be a friend to Jesus,
         Until my years shall end.
                                                               - Johnson Oatman, Jr. 1922

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