Family Bible Study lesson for June 24: Staying Faithful
June 8 2001 by Catherine Painter , Matt. 26:36-41,47-56

Family Bible Study lesson for June 24: Staying Faithful | Friday, June 8, 2001

Friday, June 8, 2001

Family Bible Study lesson for June 24: Staying Faithful

By Catherine Painter Matt. 26:36-41,47-56 Catherine, keep a low profile. Work in the church nursery where you won't be a threat. Locate other ministers' wives. Don't make friends within the membership; you'll incite jealousy." Our mentoring pastor was offering counsel. But I was off to the ministry, convinced the world was in its condition because it hadn't had Jack and me. I smiled, saying nothing.

Inside, however, I protested: "Put my talents under a bushel? Carry a cross of loneliness? I'd fall beneath its weight! Besides, our friend was old - 55 if a day - out of touch with my generation. What did he know?" I would soon learn.

Our rural church was far removed from other ministers' wives and the salary afforded little for entertainment. We found lemonade and laughter with a couple our age following evening services.

Soon a concerned individual confided that others felt slighted. One was watching to determine where our car went after church. Therefore, we made caring visits to the wounded; but we kept our close friends.

Ask friends for support (Matt. 26:36-38) Jesus needed close friends. Taking solace with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, He also chose 12, Mark says, "to be with him" (3:14). Within the 12, Peter, James and John shared intimate hours (see Matt. 17:lff). Now in Gethsemane, praying through His decision to endure the cross, Jesus needed their presence while making His sorrowful surrender.

Accept God's will (Matt. 26:39) Jesus went a little farther into the garden. He always went farther, giving the world its finest example, greatest sermon, surpassing others with lessons and miracles. He went farther interpreting God's laws: "You have heard it said ... but I say unto you ... (Matt. 5:27ff). He went farther in love to the extent of the cross. Now He goes farther to "drink the cup." Except for Gethsemane, there would be no crucifixion, and "without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness" (Heb. 9:22b).

I gaze into the cup and see the shadow of the cross, the mockery, scourging, nails, agony and thirst ... and my own reflection, for the sins and weaknesses that plague my life are there.

Guard against temptation (Matt. 26:40-41) These verses recall a scene from childhood. My mother, knowing my father's tendency to fall asleep driving, sent me to keep him alert. We both woke to a crashed mailbox and its owner's bewildered look. I still can hear my mother: "Could you not stay awake either?"

Jesus asked that question, adding, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation" (v.41a). What temptation? John lists three categories: "the lust of the flesh ... the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:l6, KJV).

Perhaps Jesus recalled His own temptations: "Tell these stones to become bread (flesh); throw yourself down from the temple (pride); all this (the world's kingdoms) I will give you (eyes)" (Matt. 4:l-11). I sometimes wonder if Jesus would take me into some inner chamber - some holy of holies, but finds me sleeping too.

Face difficulties head on (Matt. 26:47-50) We hear clanking armor and discordant voices of temple police advancing with Judas leading the way. Why did he betray Jesus? Was it jealousy over not being chosen for the "inner circle"? Was it anger over Jesus' refusal to be Judas' kind of Messiah? He could have simply pointed Jesus out, but the kiss gave opportunity to vent revenge, and gave Jesus' enemies clout to brag, "He was betrayed by one of His own." Jesus willingly allows them to arrest Him.

Know the scriptures (Matt. 26:51-56) Jesus now shares a secret of power: knowledge of scripture. As children, we grew by eating the right food in proper amounts. We grow spiritually in like manner, feeding upon scripture. The offensive weapon in God's armor is the Sword of the Spirit, God's word (Eph. 6:l7b).

Peter draws a literal sword, cutting off the high priest's servant's ear. His life is in danger, until Jesus heals the ear (Luke 22:51).

Someone said, "Sin takes us farther than we wanted to go, keeps us longer than we intended to stay, and costs us more than we intended to pay." The Psalmist said, "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee" (ll9: 11, KJV).

By memorizing and applying scripture, we remain faithful. When the battle ends, the noise stops and the smoke clears, God's man and God's woman are still standing.

Wellington said, "My men are not braver than other troops. They're just brave five minutes longer." As the songwriter said, "May those who come behind us find us faithful."

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6/8/2001 12:00:00 AM by Catherine Painter , Matt. 26:36-41,47-56 | with 0 comments
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