Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For Christ's Sake: Brokeness

Today at church Pastor Troy taught from Mark 14:27-72.  I love my church and I love Pastor Troy.  I am greatly encouraged by the thought and effort that is regularly placed into the service:  the music, the lyrics, the preaching of the Word, the hospitality to strangers, the church family business discussed, etc... 

My heart was stirred by the Spirit while Troy was preaching today in thinking specifically upon these verses:

Mark 14:27-29

27 And Jesus said to them, You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”

Mark 14:50

50 And they all left him and fled.

Oh, the patient endurance and long-suffering of our Lord.  He knew they (i.e. "we") would all abandon Him.  He knew it ahead of time.  He did not speak these words as a tough-love attempt to increase Peter's resolve so that Peter would stay loyal later.  He did not speak these words in spiteful pessimism as He looked at a gloomy forecast foreshadowed.  He did not speak these words in bitterness or resentment.  He spoke them because they were true.  Peter would deny Him.  Jesus knew this.  Jesus' commitment to Peter was stronger than Peter's to Jesus.  Peter over-estimated His love and loyalty for Jesus.  Peter did not yet know the full weight and level of Jesus' love for Him.

It led my soul to ponder the brokeness and humiliation of having fallen short.  How Peter must have wept bitterly over his failure and embarassment in having so boldly sworn loyalty to Jesus only to so cowardly distance himself later from Jesus in fear. 

Jesus tells us that we will wander and that our hearts will falter.  Our response is either to muster courage and resolve to combat His prediction to prove Him wrong or in devastation lament the poverty of our efforts and despair of any hope of ever measuring up or fulfilling our desires.  We desire to be loyal to Jesus for our own's sake.  We do not want to let ourselves down. We are often obsessed with our own whiteness. 

We bemoan the futility of our efforts and exalt the depravity of ourselves in response to the increasing banquet of disloyalty we prepare before God.  We wonder how Jesus could ever forgive such treason.  We are heart-broken over our failure and wish beyond wish that we could change who were are, what we've done, what we do, and who we still are.

All of this and sometimes no thought to Jesus. Just our dirtiness.  Just the gravity of our plight.

We are broken over our own disappointments.  We are broken over our fears of rejection in not measuring up.  We are broken over our disillusionment in the human will to manifest its desires.  We are broken and none of it again with any thought to Jesus, but only to ourselves.

We are sad that we do not measure up.  We are sad for our own's sake.  We are not sad for Jesus' sake. We do not sorrow that He will not receive His due glory and honor.

He deserves our love, our devotion, our worship, our praise, our everything.  He beyond any and every person you have ever met is worthy of it all.  He deserves our love and loyalty.  And when we fail and fall short and flee from Him and His sufferings, we are sad.  Not because we have failed to give Jesus what He deserves, but because we had hoped for so much more from ourselves.  We had wanted to give Him more, to praise Him more, to love Him more.  But not with any thought to Him receiving glory, but with thought primarly on the joy we have in giving it to Him.  So even in our worship we often withhold a small portion as a idolatrous receipt of self-love and comfort.

May we be broken for Christ's sake.  May we in our brokeness lament that the Son deserves our love and not merely lament the tragedy of our own disappointment in having failed to bring our all.  All of these responses are right and true.  My point is not to infer that your failure to be broken correctly is yet another weight you must add to your already burdened back.  My point is to articulate just how depraved we really are.  So depraved that the Son tells us that we will fall away and the only horror that strikes us is our immediate fear of what He will do to us for having fallen away or how hard we must work to ensure we do not fall away.  Never once do our thoughts lead us to thank Him for enduring our betrayal with such patient endurance.  He long suffers our disloyalty and does so with full disclosure set before Him. 

In that sense, I am not proposing we need to feel sorry for Jesus.  He does not ask us to.  He knew the cost He would pay for us and chose in perfect obedeince and faithful love to pay it on our behalf.  He does not need our sympathy.  He does not ask for it.  That said, it is a statement of our situation that we often never think to first apply any sympathy toward Him in having looked His bride in the eyes knowing how far from the marriage bed she would run after the ceremony and in covenant love He married her anyway. 

The strength of our bond to Christ is not in our ability to conjure up brokeness.  He breaks us by revealing to us the depths of our need for Him and the wonderous extent to which He is capable of diving down that depth to retrieve us.

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