Forsaken by men

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Frans Bakker was a minister in the Netherlands who died aged 46 in 1965. His book 'Praying Always' published by the Banner is a terrific read and a great incentive to get praying. I discovered 'The Everlasting Word' which is a collection of letters to his congregation and sermons divided into daily readings by Reformed Heritage Books. I'm going through it this year and it's a lovely book full of familiar truths looked at through fresh eyes. I can't recommend it highly enough.

I'll post two readings I've found particularly helpful around the Easter theme

Forsaken

'Then all the disciples forsook him and fled' Matthew 26:56

A very bitter experience occurs for the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. The enemies come to capture the Lord Jesus. He, who has power over the wind and the sea, heals the sick and raises the dead, lets himself be bound. He is in the midst of His enemies as one who is weak. How is this possible? The disciples do not understand. They still think of God's kingdom in terms of a crown, a throne of honor, and power on this side of the grave. They have already, in their minds, divided the places of honor in this kingdom. But now Christ, the Messiah, lets himself be taken as a prisoner. The disciples all forsake Him.

Early in His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus offers Himself as the Bread of Life. In response, many people are annoyed with Him. We read in Scripture that from that time on many no longer follow Him. But the disciples stay with Him. During the last three years they cling closely to Him. In the Garden of Gethsemane, however, Christ's faithful disciples become unfaithful. In the garden, they take offense to Christ and try to save their own lives. They do not fully understand what Jesus is doing.

The soldiers take Jesus and bind Him with ropes. Christ does not try to defend Himself. On the contrary, He lets Himself be bound. In response, the disciples see their Master appear weak and feeble. The sheep see the wolves bring down the Shepherd. The disciples watch in wonder at this One whom they hoped would redeem Israel. The cries of hosanna from the crowds anticipating a king still echo in their ears. Now this King is led away as a captive. What a disappointment! In one stroke all their hope perishes. They did not comprehend that the arrest of Jesus was part of God's plan to redeem them from their slavery to sin.

Amidst the turmoil in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples of Jesus run away. What sorrow for the Lord Jesus! He has twelve disciples. One becomes a traitor and the remaining eleven all run away. When the disciples are asked to watch, they sleep. And then in concern for their own lives, they are watchful enough to lift their heels and flee from the troubles surrounding them. This picture takes us back to the Garden of Eden. The Lord says to man, ''Where art thou?'' But now in the Garden of Gethsemane we again ask the first Adam, ''Where art thou?'' The first Adam is not there because he ran away, and the second Adam, the great Shepherd of the sheep, does His work as Surety. He must save His sheep. But where are the sheep? They have all fled and must be rescued.

(The Everlasting Word - Frans Bakker, Reformed Heritage Books, page 127,128)
Posted April 5, 2012 @ 5:03 AM by Paul Levy
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