Can you picture yourself being one of Jesus’ disciples? Everyone likes to be around someone who makes them look good. Everyone wants to partner with someone who does things heads and shoulders above everyone else. That is probably how the disciples felt when serving right alongside Jesus.
Can you imagine how they might have been tempted away from the ministry when Jesus was ruthlessly murdered on the cross? Can you imagine the amount of ridicule from mockers about how their GOD died! Like, how does a God who is supposed to save everyone and answer all prayers die?
It was embarrassingly humbling, and maybe they felt a little betrayed. The disciples had to bear the stigma of a God who could die. Some probably wanted to disappear like Jesus did and never show their face again.
Can you relate?
What about you? Have you experienced a similar dynamic in your walk with God? How could such a mighty powerful Being let all of this go to pot? Not only that, but I’ve openly proclaimed Him and His victory, and the opposite has happened.
If you’ve ever felt this way, then I want to encourage you today. Even when our circumstances do not make sense, we must hold on to God’s promise for our lives.
Maybe you haven’t faced that disillusionment yet, or perhaps it has been years since you did.
When that opportunity comes, can you be found to be faithful in the call of “To whom shall we go?” Will you still serve, remain loyal, proclaim the goodness of God even when it seems He left you high and dry, especially in front of the naysayers? When it seems He is doing something in your life that seems contrary to His love for you, will you turn away? Will you walk away?
Even with tears in your eyes, a mind full of doubt and a bleeding heart, will you be able to say, “To whom shall we go?”
In what ways would Jesus want to answer your doubts? Read on.
“Remember, I was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief”
We get angry at God and disappointed with Him because of what He allows us to go through, as if Jesus did not go through troubles that acquainted Him with sorrow and pain. Jesus Christ was a man of sorrow (Isaiah 53:3) who knew grief (Matthew 26:37). He was despised and rejected by man (Isaiah 53:3). He had no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58).
He was sold for 30 silver coins, which were thrown down in the temple, fulfilling another prophecy concerning Him. He was mocked, spit on, beaten and scourged. There is no better example than Christ Himself of how we are to live as Christians. Living with an understanding that we will have trials and tribulations, it is still possible to have the attitude of “To whom shall we go?”
“I understand you”
The Bible says in Hebrews 4:15 (ESV), “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
The word “sympathize” here means to feel what the other person is feeling. Jesus knows the temptations we face and the sufferings we endure because He endured them himself.
God knows our hurts; He knows our pain; He knows our frustrations. Jesus understands our fears; He hears our weeping and sees our tears. We can trust Him when it comes to the things of life that we don’t understand.
“I even asked the Father to let this cup pass from Me”
“Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” (Luke 22:42 MSG).
Even Jesus asked the Father to let this cup pass from Him. Though he understood it was necessary through the magnitude of His death to provide forgiveness of sin and eternal life, He knew it was no walk in the park. He knew the excruciating death He had to face to redeem humankind. Despite knowing that the whole world for all generations would be damned to hell if He didn’t walk this through, He asked the Father to let this cup of adversity pass from Him. I mean, He was sweating drops of blood in anguish. Yet, though He wanted out for those few moments, He told the Lord, Not My will, but Your will be done.
The Father and Jesus understand that sometimes we will want out of complex circumstances. We need to remember, like Jesus, the ways we are called to suffer are far more reaching than we could ever imagine. No, others in our life may not get it. I’m sure many thought His death was just like everyone else’s. Many could not see that His death would still matter to this day.
The Bible says, “Then he said, ‘This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me’” (Matthew 26:38 MSG).
We must remember that although Jesus knew this was going to be painful and awful, He also knew it would be worthwhile. We must trust in God’s sovereignty as well. Despite our inability to understand why God allows us to go through trials and testing, we have to have enough faith to believe that God always knows what is best — though at times, we may feel like giving up or wanting out of something.
In your own Gethsemane, what is the eternal impact your life is to have when you surrender? Imagine that today’s obedience will still impact people 100 years from now.
“I am not surprised by what you’re going through”
We get caught off guard by what happens in life, but Jesus never does. HE IS NEVER SURPRISED! If it’s a temptation, He always provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). If our enemies are in our face, He already knew the table He would set for us in their presence. If it’s a lengthy trial, he already knew the plan to turn it into something we could benefit from.
In Exodus 3:7 (MSG) we read, “God said, ‘I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain.'”
In Psalm 139:16 (MSG), we read, “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
God knows all things and is not surprised by anything that happens to us. He always knows just what to do because He sees the end from the beginning. We can trust Him with all things because He will come through for us. When you think about this truth today, let it be a source of encouragement to move forward in life, expecting victory, while having the heart posture toward Jesus that proclaims, “To whom shall we go?”
Remember that the big picture requires sacrifice and things we don’t understand
Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. As a result of the joy He possessed, He endured the cross. We must also bear the cross to experience the joy of heaven.
When we are disappointed by God, we want Him to do things our way instead of His way. We want instant gratification now and His will to come later.
God works in us through trials and tribulation, and sometimes we do not even realize it until much later. When we stay the course, we thank God for the cross we had to bear after a while.
We have developed a more heavenly mindset.
To whom shall we go? To whom shall I go? If we are to do more excellent works than Jesus did, why do we think we will get to escape what God in the flesh had to endure? What are the EPIC, life-changing implications on your life for continuing in your faith and proclamations of the King of glory?
When it looked most like God had abandoned His only begotten Son, it turned out to be the biggest harvest the world has ever experienced. Generation after generation is still reaping the benefits. Your life is no different.
Will you turn away or embrace a “To whom shall we go” lifestyle?
Centerpoint Church is ready to walk with you on your faith journey
At Centerpoint, our community believes in purpose and passion, and we would love to walk with you on your journey in finding yours. You can also find out what our community’s drive and passion are all about by checking out some of the past sermons we’ve posted on our website.
Do you want to grow in your faith, or are you curious about who this Jesus guy is? You’re not alone. We encourage you to listen to our podcast series online and welcome you to come to one of our Sunday morning services in Valrico, Florida.