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Topic: Betrayal (02/16/04)
TITLE: In The Ninth Hour
By Bobbye Terry
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From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Behold, I have graven you on the palm of my hands. . .
In The Ninth Hour
At times itís easy to think God has forsaken you. Perhaps youíve lost your job, canít find another one, and the moneyís running out. Perhaps you have fallen ill or are injured, and you donít know if you are going to recuperate. Perhaps you feel betrayed by someone around you. Itís easy to give up. Whatís hard not giving up. You have to work at it.
Jesus felt betrayed. He felt betrayed by Judas. He felt betrayed by the chief priests and elders and the crowd at the feast. When asked to choose which prisoner was to be freed, they chose Barabbas. Then Jesus was publicly humiliated, mocked, spat on, forced to carry his own cross. And then once on the cross, he suffered a slow death. Matthew tells us he was on the cross from the sixth hour until the ninth hour. To make it worse, the skies turned dark.
When he was on earth, Jesus was a man. He had human frailties just as you and I. Can you blame him for having last minute doubts? Even though he knew he was the Son of God, that his mission was to bring the message to men that God is always with us and he was there to save us from our sins, he wondered in those last moments if God had let him down. ďMy God, why have you forsaken me?Ē
Then Matthew tells us Jesus cried loudly one last time and yielded up his spirit. It was then, and only then, that a miracle happened. After Jesus had cast off the shell of his mortal body. The temple was torn in two, rocks were split, tombs open. An earthquake rocked the land. Matthew says many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. God was telling man He never forsakes you.
For as Isaiah tells us, our names are engraved on Godís palms. He is always cognizant of us, each individual. He may not save you from illness or injury, bankruptcy, or betrayal. But He will see you through it. He will be there, and will help ease your discomfort and your worry. Donít lose faith in Him.
When I meet difficulties and want to give up, please help me to fight my impulses and work at feeling better, more positive of the final outcome. Help me to remember that even though I may start to doubt your presence, you are still there and will see me through the hard times, for my name is engraved on the palm of your hands. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.