Monday, 7 April 2014

The Suffering King (John 13:36-38, Mark 14:32-72)

Hello All,

Today’s poem is a joint effort between me and an anonymous writer who contributed the first three stanzas.

May you gain deeper insight into the struggles Jesus faced as his hour of death drew near.

The Suffering King (John 13:36-38, Mark 14:32-72)
By Anonymous and Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (4th March 2013)
"I will go, and you shall seek me"
"O Lord, where wilt thou go to be?"
"Peter, there you can't follow me"
"Lord, grant me to come after thee?"

"Peter, soon you will not see me"
"But Lord, I'll give my life for thee!"
"O, will you lay it down for me?"
"Yea Lord, I'll give my life, you'll see!"

"Truly, truly, I say to thee,
At cock -crow I can guarantee,
Your firm denials shall be three,
Yea, with a curse, you'll forsake me"

Christ then took his disciples to Gethsemane
His soul was overwhelmed with intense agony
For time drew him closer to his death on the tree
He retreated for personal prayer on his knees

'Father, please take this cup of suffering from me'
'Yet not my will, I submit to yours willingly'
He came back and found his disciples were weary
They were fast asleep for their eyes were too heavy

Jesus rebuked them for not praying earnestly
Against temptation in their vulnerability
This same cycle repeated two times and then three
His disciples could not conceive his misery

Christ said 'Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?'
'Beware of Satan who'll tempt you, he'll try his best'
'My betrayer has arranged for my swift arrest'
'Here comes the final hour of my greatest test'

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss
He did not, against Satan's temptation, resist
Came with armed men and religious authorities
His signal: 'The one I kiss is the man to seize'

One of the disciples tried to put up a fight
But Christ ordered him to stop for it was not right
Fearing for their lives, all his disciples took flight
Jesus was led away, by armed men, out of sight

Christ was brought before the counsel of the high priest
Their charges were all conflicting testimonies
Jesus Christ kept silent before his enemies
'Are you the Messiah foretold in prophecies?'

The high priest put forth his final inquiry
Christ affirmed this question with utmost certainty
'I am and you will see me reign in majesty'
So the counsel convicted him with blasphemy

Peter had followed Jesus from a safe distance
A servant girl asked with repeated persistence
'Were you with Jesus who was trialed for resistance?'
Peter denied Jesus thrice with no hesitance

Then the rooster crowed twice and Peter remembered
His promise to stand by Jesus had now shattered
Shame, guilt and sorrow cut his heart like a dagger
Staggering off, he wept as a broken sinner

Points for Reflection:
And he [Jesus] said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)
·         The cup is a metaphor for the wrath of God, which he would pour out on sinners in righteous judgment.
Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering. (Isaiah 51:17)
·         Jesus knew the wrath of God against the sin of mankind was an indescribably heavy one to bear. Having taken on human form when he came down to earth, he could feel pain and dreaded the anguish of spiritual, emotional and physical pain. In spite of the horrifying trials that lay before him, he chose to do his Father’s will.
·         Was there ever a time in your life when you dreaded to come face to face with an impending problem that you would do anything to escape from? I am sure you have but no one knows this better than the Lord Jesus himself. Despite the many difficulties we face in life, are you thankful that the biggest problem of eternal value has been dealt with by Christ? If you have put your faith in Christ then the wrath of God has been turned away from you. But if you have not, then do not tarry until it is too late.
·         Just as Jesus submitted to his Father’s will, are you submitting your life to God’s will? Are there areas of your life which you are withholding from God?
And immediately, while he [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” (Mark 14:43-44)
·         Last week we saw Judas was tempted by Satan to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Today we see the betrayal in action. If you are having thoughts of betraying Jesus for any other things in this world, I pray that you will stop before it translates into action.
And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:72)
·         After all the overconfident claims of allegiance to Jesus, Peter wept in shame after three firm denials. He feared for his life and did not want to be known as a follower of Jesus who was facing trial. Some of us would consider him a coward but if we were to examine ourselves, we are not much different from him. In fact, many of us deny Christ for lesser things. Could you remember times when you have denied Jesus when it was just easier to blend in with the crowd? Perhaps you have denied him out of fear of being ridiculed by family and peers for your faith. If you were in Peter’s shoes, would you have reacted differently?
·         The good news for Peter was after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, instead of punishing or rejecting Peter for his denials, he lovingly reinstated him as his disciple. If you feel that your denials of Jesus have caused God to reject you as his child, you do not have to fear for Jesus’ question still echoes till this day: ‘Do you love me more than these?’

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)