Friday, April 6, 2007

Sticking with Jesus

Good Friday
Friday, April 6, 2007
Luke 22:28

“You are those who have stayed with Me in My trials.”

Here we see the remarkable grace of God. How Jesus could make such a statement is really beyond comprehension. You can search far and wide and you won’t find what Jesus is talking about. The disciples had done anything but stick with Him in His trials. Oh sure, they were still His disciples. They still believed in Him.

But was Jesus really content with their feeble attempts to remain with Him? It’s more than just physically sticking with someone. Jesus demands our heart and soul, not just our mind and body. We can recount numerous occasions when the disciples let Jesus down. When they strayed from Him. When they aided and abetted the enemy.

And though it hadn’t happened yet when Jesus spoke these words, He knew what they would do when He was arrested, on trial, and crucified—they didn’t stick with Him in His trials!

So what is Jesus talking about here? Just trying to make them feel good? Sort of like, Hey guys, you did the best you could, and I’m proud of you.

Hardly. That’s not the way a real god works. And being as Jesus is true God, He couldn’t have meant that. No, what He’s doing here is acting in the way God works—in grace. Jesus was more aware than anyone, including the disciples who were with Him for three years, that He was alone in His trials.

There was no one He could count on. No one He could turn to. No one who extended a hand to help Him. No one who fought for Him to try to prevent His arrest.

No one staying with Him in His trials.

This is the grace of God. He did it all. He went through the trials of temptation, of suffering on our behalf, of dying for the sins of the world—by Himself. No one did or could do it with Him. Or help Him in it. God the Father Himself forsook Him. Jesus was alone on that cross. Suffering for the sin of the world.

The grace of God is beyond our comprehension. It doesn’t compute with us. Because we can’t understand why God would do that. We can’t understand Gift as it really is: God has accomplished eternal salvation for you in what He has done. In His trial. His suffering. His being alone on that cross.

Why? So that we may be with Him. Not because we stayed faithfully by His side. Not because we were raised by Christian parents and have continued to go to church ever since. Not because we come around here every Sunday. Not because we live such a good and devout life.

Because of Christ. Because of His trials. His suffering. His death. His accomplishing of salvation for us. We are with Him because He has stuck with us. The fact that we, like the disciples, stay with Him in His trials is because of Baptism. He joins us to Himself in Baptism. He’s the one who brings us into the relationship in which we are with Him in His trials.

In Baptism we are joined with Him in His death. When we’re joined with Him in His death that means we die. Our sinful flesh is crucified. When we are crucified a new man is raised up in its place. We are joined with Christ in His suffering so that we may be joined with Him in His life.

It’s a life that can only be attributed to grace. In which God brings about these amazing things in us and then rejoices that we have them. We have stuck with Jesus in His trials. Praise God! Because He has brought it about. We do good works and come here on Sundays for worship. That’s wonderful. Because He brings it about.

We should never forget the grace of God. Without it we are nothing. With it we have everything. In Christ alone we have new life, eternal life, life with Him. By His grace. By His trials alone. By His suffering and death. By His eternal love that brought Him to take our place and give us glory in heaven that is beyond our comprehension. Amen.


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