It’s Thursday, and that means a new blog post! September was a whirlwind of a month for me, and methinks October may be something of the same. Today, I am excited to share with you some thoughts from one of my best friends Ben Bock. He is solid through and through, and I am so much better having been his friend. And now… Ben & I are actually brothers-in-law! Exciting days are upon us – I couldn’t have asked for a better bro! Anyway, I know you will blessed by his thoughts. Enjoy, and have a fantastic Thursday…
The teachings of Christ were contagious. Hundreds of people were following Him around the countryside listening to His words, and thousands had experienced His miraculous works. Even more so than the crowds were Christ’s closest friends and followers (known as the Twelve Disciples). They were attentive to every single word that Christ spoke; they observed how Christ lived out His life. They had chosen to follow a Man who claimed to be the Messiah, which was considered heretical. Christ considered three of the twelve disciples as His closest friends: Peter, James, and John. But above all, Christ was in constant communication with God the Father. He would rise early in the morning and seek a desolate place just to spend time with God.
In the last week of Christ’s life, the world seemed to crumble around Him. It all started with His disciple Judas. For reasons not completely clear, Judas decided to betray Christ. This allowed the Jewish officials the opportunity to arrest Christ while He was away from the crowds (the officials didn’t want to upset the people by making the arrest publicly). One of Christ’s own twelve disciples provided the way for Him to be arrested and subsequently killed.
In the hours leading up to His betrayal, Christ spent time in prayer. Here, He supplicated with the Father for the last time. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Christ was once again reminded that His death was the only thing that would satisfy the wrath of God, the wrath that is directed toward humanity’s sin and rebellion. Christ was the only pure and perfect sacrifice. During this time, He asked His disciples to pray with Him because He was in so much inner turmoil. He reached out to those closest to Him to intercede with Him. But once again, Christ was forsaken by friends. Every time He went to check on His disciples, they were sleeping. It did not matter how persistent Christ was, His disciples did not make the effort needed to stay awake and intercede with Him. Not only did Judas’ betrayal forsake Christ, but the rest of His disciples had forsaken Him by allowing Him to suffer alone.
During Christ’s trial, Peter was approached and asked if he was a follower. Peter adamantly denied the fact that he had ever spent any time with Christ. Not only denying his association with Christ once, Peter denied their association three different times. Peter, one of Christ’s three closest friends, publicly denied any affiliation with Him. He had seen Christ raise a man from the dead, give sight to the blind, and walk on water. Yet in a moment of desperation, Peter forsook his friendship with Christ.
So far, Judas has betrayed Him, Peter has denied Him, and the other disciples have chosen sleep over being with Him. Those closest to Christ seemed to turn their backs on Him.
After Christ was arrested, He was brought before Pilate for His final trial. Pilate saw nothing wrong with Christ, so He let the crowd decide Christ’s fate. It is possible that this was the same crowd that had been worshiping Christ the previous week as He entered into Jerusalem (the Triumphal Entry). Contrary to their response at seeing Christ the previous week, the crowd was furious. Instead of saying “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9), they yelled, “Crucify Him, crucify Him” (Luke 23:21). Now even the crowds that had flocked to hear the teachings of Christ had forsaken Him.
Christ’s current situation seemed to be insurmountable. He was about to be crucified, the crowds had turned on Him, and even His disciples had left Him. Except for God the Father, He had no one on His side.
After being mocked and whipped, Christ was led to the place of His crucifixion. After allowing the soldiers to nail His hands and feet to the cross, He was raised up for all to see. Christ, the perfect sacrifice. Blameless and holy. There He hung with no one by His side except two criminals. The weight of the world on His shoulders, the sins of humanity upon Him. Forsaken by His closest friends. Forsaken by those He came to save. Then Christ looked up to Heaven, and God poured out His wrath. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me” (Matthew 27:46)? Christ, in that moment, even felt forsaken by God. God, the only One who had never left His side.
God’s only way to redeem humanity was through Christ’s death on the cross. God poured out His wrath on Christ, so we would not have to suffer the consequences of our own sins.
Christ was forsaken, so we could be forgiven.