John 18:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” NKJV
Imagine one of your very best friends or a close family member you have loved and trusted your entire life sleeps with your wife or husband. This is a very ugly picture but it is one that plays out in the affairs of human beings all over this earth since Cain killed his own brother Abel. It is the struggle or war between good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, Christ and the devil and it is what our Lord knew would happen to Him before He ever spoke any part of our world into being. Our Lord Jesus knew when He called the 12 disciples who His betrayer would be and how He would be betrayed (John 18:1-4). We human beings even those of us who have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus are prone to get angry, hostile, and frustrated when those that are so close to us betray our love and trust given to them. However, our Lord Jesus unlike us knew all things that were going to happen to Him during this time and He bore witness with these words, Luke 22:52-53 “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” NKJV
It was the cup He prayed so earnestly and fervently to the Father to let pass from Him but it was not mainly the physical suffering that caused our Lord Jesus to shriek back, but it was the reality of sin in all its filth and disgust entering into Him that made His cup bitter. Our Lord also knew that separation from the Father must occur at that moment this sin was placed upon or in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). For us this was a glorious thing (although none of us knew it) but for our Lord it was bitter. Like our Lord was betrayed and treated with reproach and humiliated by the very people He loved and the very people He suffered such humiliating reproach for, so will we His disciples have our very own faith mocked, despised, and tested by some of our most loved friends and even family. Our adversary will even use our own flesh and blood family to set out to destroy or wreck our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some things we must bear will be so gut wrenching that we will not understand how our loving Heavenly Father will even allow such things to occur. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ divides the light from the darkness and He is non-discriminatory in separating His own from those who belong to the enemy (Ephesians 5:11). No matter how much it hurts or pains our souls to find ourselves in opposite camps with our closest of earthly family (Matthew 10:34-39), we must stand firm in our Lord Jesus Christ no matter our own individual bitter cups. When we are blindsided with the occurrence of these bitter and hurtful things we must remember His Words, John 15:20-23 “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also.” NKJV (see the article, “He suffered many things; Therefore, we must suffer many things”, (http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=92558).
I must confess and testify that I have let these words from my Lord Jesus escape from my mind/heart too often and stewed in destructive anger and bitterness over the betrayal and spiritual attacks that have come to me from the enemy through someone close to me. This was the result the enemy desired to gain. I have far too often accommodated him and plunged myself into hurtful, harmful, and hopeless despair and agony in my soul, it is always a result of me not listening to and thereby grieving the Holy Spirit. In stark contrast, our Lord took this time of hurt and betrayal as an opportunity to continue to extend an open door of reconciliation to His betrayer when He allowed Judas to carry out his signal to the soldiers by kissing Him on the cheek. Our Lord refused to act unkind and unloving even to this man who had given himself over to the evil one. Our Lord could have sent Judas to the pit of @#!*% at that very moment (Job 4:9) and not allowed him to carry out his deceitful kiss (Proverbs 27:6) by taking his life from him because of such an act of disloyalty. This was a man chosen by our Lord to walk with Him for 3 ½ years in intimate fellowship and our Lord Jesus even gave him to be the treasurer for them all, but now he sold out our Lord Jesus for more money when he was in the presence of eternal riches untold (Psalm 41:9). Those of us who love our Lord Jesus Christ passionately desiring His Glory to be manifested in our daily lives will meet head on with our adversary and he will come to us in the form of our familiar friends and family.
Some of us will be dealt a hard hand from our Lord, but it is His Sovereign will working out all things together for our good and for bringing in His elect. Just as it takes 9 months before a baby is born into the natural world and into the human family, it may also take many years of prayer for family to be born into the Heavenly family of God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise just as the Mother goes through excruciating pain during her often time many hours of labor, so will our Lord’s disciples endure some painful and bitter circumstances in this pilgrimage of ours as saints, but in the end some souls may pass from spiritual death to spiritual life in Jesus Christ as we remain faithful to the end knowing that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us as we faint not walking in the light of the truth of the Word of God. When our Lord Jesus sent Ananias to Saul of Tarsus, these were the words He said to Ananias, Acts 9:15-16 “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.” NKJV We like to repeat the great stories of triumph we read about in the Old Testament like David and Goliath and Daniel and the lion’s den, but let us never forget the others listed for us in Hebrews Chapter 11 for this is the lot in this life that will be required of many of our Lord’s sons and daughters in every generation.
Hebrews 11:35-38 “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented ---of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” NKJV
“Though poor in this world’s goods, though grieving the loss of loved ones, though suffering pain of body, though harassed by sin and Satan, though hated and persecuted by world lings, whatever be the case and lot of the Christian, it is both his privilege and duty to rejoice in the Lord.” A. W. Pink
“I have not suffered a lot for Christ, but I want to tell you that those times that I have suffered and I knew it was for Jesus, have been some of the happiest times of my entire life. I cannot tell you the indescribable joy that has come into my heart and my life.” Dr. Adrian Rogers
“Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.” Charles Spurgeon
“A Christian is someone who shares the sufferings of God in the world.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God’s will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.” Oswald Chambers
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…