Matthew 26:47-56 (Part 2) – The Consequences of Taking A Bath Too Quickly…

Posted: April 11, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 26:47-56 (Part 2)

Jesus is Betrayed and Arrested

 

The heart wants what the heart wants is a famous quote originally quoted by Emily Dickinson in one of her poems, I believe. More recently, it is the key phrase in the song by the same title, by Selena Gomez. It is often said that the heart will win out over the mind every time. Another saying is that “we want what we want and we want it now.” There are times where we are impetuous and try to speed up things in our lives. As a child, I remember wanted to see Alice Cooper, the big rock star that he was in the early to mid 70s, live on television for the first time as he was to perform at the Grammies. This must have been like 1972 or 1973 something, when I was 10 or 11. I was watching the Grammys on the small black and white TV in the kitchen and then low and behold right at the beginning of the show, my dad calls for me to go take my bath. Oh man, I didn’t want to hear that. I might miss seeing Alice Cooper while I was in the tub. So, trying to be the good son, I did not argue cause that would have wasted time. So, I ran to the bathroom, ran the quickest tub of water you’ve ever seen, took the quickest bath a child has ever taken, put on my t-shirt and gym pants as quick as I could so I could get back in front of the television. I think maybe it took a total of 10 minutes for me to do all that might have been a generous estimate. This was back before VCRs came along so if you missed a live show you just missed it. There was no replay. Had to get bath quickly. Go. Go. Go. I was back in the kitchen watching the little black and white TV before ya knew. And Alice Cooper had not been on yet. Cool! I made it! But my dad being the wise man that he is and was knew that there was no way that this 10 or 11 year old all-American boy who attracted dirt like a magnet could have taken his bath, brushed his teeth, and got his night clothes on all in 10 minutes or less. Just not logistically possible in my dad’s view. So, he comes and inspects his son and sees that I had forced the issue and took short cuts to get where I wanted to be. So, he forces me back in the tub and forces me to take a real bath. And certainly, as fate would have it, after having to take the steps of getting clean in the proper timing and length, I missed seeing Alice Cooper on television. I was so mad at my dad, but really I should have just followed the protocol that dad expected the first time and I would have been done in plenty of time to seeing Alice Cooper. Sometimes, when we take shortcuts in life, we end up causing ourselves more trouble than we anticipated or we simply miss out on the thing that we desired.

 

Many times in life, we make grave mistakes in our life resulting from following our heart rather than reason. Many times, we react emotionally to situations rather than thinking them through. I think sometimes we are that when it comes to God’s will for our lives. We take situations into our own hands and try to short circuit God’s plan for our lives. Have you ever experienced that in church life? Maybe, you felt like you were being under-utilized in your present situation at church. Maybe, you think you should be being more utilized given your talents in certain areas. Maybe you feel that you should be a leader in a ministry but you are not. Maybe you feel like God has called you to some type of ministry but nothing is happening at the moment. Maybe, you are doing a job that is beneath your skill set. So you leave one church in hopes of finding your desires somewhere else and it ends up being a less pleasing situation elsewhere. Sometimes, as a result, we try to take make things happen on our own to advance along our desires for what we think is God’s plan. I see that in Peter’s reaction to this situation and, as is Jesus’ style, He uses it as another teaching moment. It is this idea of understanding God’s will for our lives and not trying to short-circuit it to our own liking that comes to mind when I read the second half of this passage today. Let’s read the whole passage once again but with a special eye to the second half of the passage after Judas’ kiss:

 

 

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

 

50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”[a]

 

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

 

52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

 

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

 

As always, Peter is impetuous in this scene. He takes actions into his own hands. If it were not for Jesus’ intervention, he would have most likely been killed on the spot. Peter wanted to win a small battle but would have caused the losing of a war. He might have been victorious briefly and got what he wanted briefly but all of it would have come crashing down quickly. The disciples and Jesus were decidedly outnumbered by the temple guards and the cohort of Roman soldiers. Peter did not care that they were outnumbered probably 10 to 1. He did not see past what he wanted at the moment. He wanted Jesus to revolt against them. He wanted to Jesus to fight. He wanted to bring down the Jewish establishment and the Romans. He took a lifetime of anger out at that moment. But Jesus said to Him basically, if your way was what God wanted, don’t you think there was be a legion of angels coming down from heaven at this moment. Stand down, Peter, this is God’s will for things to happen this way. Don’t miss out on God’s will by trying to take things into your own hands. Jesus didn’t say it but one thing that is different between the two men is that Jesus had spent much time in prayer whereas Peter had not. Peter chose to sleep while Jesus prayed. As a result, you see Jesus complying with God’s will (though the night was not going to be fun by any stretch of the imagination) whereas Peter was following his own heart and not the heart of God.

 

I thinkt that’s the takeaway here. Sometimes, we try to short circuit God’s plan for our lives through the impetuousness of our own heart. We follow our desires rather than God’s will because we have not submitted it all to God in prayer. We try to take shortcuts around the stuff that God wants us to learn before we take the next step. We try to take shortcuts around the painful things that make us grow into a better person and a person that God is readying for the next step. God will make it abundantly clear when it is time for the next step. God will make it abundantly clear what the next step is. If we try to take shortcuts around what God is doing in our present situation, we will find ourselves in situations that we are not prepared for. As my Senior Pastor often tells us in staff meetings and such is that “God is preparing us for what He has prepared for us.” Those are profound words. We must be patient at times in the course of serving our Lord and in being His follower in general. Sometimes, we want to make things happen too quickly to suit our patience level. We force things. We want what we want and we want it now. The heart wants what the heart wants. When we push the timetable of God we may miss out on what He really had in store for us and miss the blessing. How do we know when we are waiting appropriately and learning what we need to learn or when it is time to catch the train that is coming into the station? Prayer. We must seek God’s will in prayer. We must really pray. Take time alone. Make it just you and God without distraction. This should be part of our daily lives not just some special thing we do when we want God’s guidance on a special issue. That’s how we become in tune with God’s will. That’s how it becomes clear in how we answer the question from the song from the 80’s alternative rock band, The Clash, that says, “Should I stay or should I go?” Peter did not pray. He did not know the Father’s will. Jesus prayed. He knew the Father’s will. That’s when we will know the should I stay or the should I go. That’s when we know. When we pray. And pray often.

 

Amen and Amen.

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