Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)
TITLE: Joy on Hold
By Helen Murray
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“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Hebrews !:2, NKJ
The old Roman swords had double-edged blades. There are always two sides to everything including vision. Peter was wearing such a sword – for Jesus. In fact he actually swiped at a servant and cut his ear off, which tells clearly how Peter wasn’t accurate with his weapon. I mean, the ear, for goodness sake! How come he was not arrested on the spot? Didn’t the high priest’s servant count for anything? He’d been asleep, and he wasn’t quite with it when the soldiers finally came for Jesus, one might guess. His vision was a bit clouded and readiness wasn’t too sharp.
Jesus, on the other hand, was very clear. He had been crystal clear all night. “I have been longing to eat this Passover feast with you,” He had said to them all, “before I suffer.” Before I suffer! He wasn’t even going to try to avoid that. They’d told Him to stay out of town. It was well known that the Jewish priests of Jerusalem were after Him. They’d hoped He’d stay behind in Galilee this year. He’d be safe there, and maybe things would settle. But, after all, He’d turned up in Jerusalem, right there in the Temple, daily firing off broadsides at Pharisees and ripping into the temple traders in doves, lambs etc. Amazingly He had remained free to this point.
Then, with the Passover eaten and remembrance savoured by all families, and the day over and long gone, a haughty priestly retinue had arrived in the garden. Jesus had been praying there, but the disciples were struggling to wake up after snoozing on the watch. Clumsily Peter had shoved his sword in the direction of the assault party, and been rebuked for protecting Him.
With a piercing eye did Jesus look past this treacherous clan, which included one who had eaten with Him, right into the joyful future perfect tense of the great, eternal plan. There He saw His glorious and majestic throne, and He was seated at the right hand of His beloved Father, in nerve-tingling anticipation, on His Wedding Day. Together, they awaited, in unambiguous delight, the arrival of His bride.
She came, presented by that mighty gentle giant from the earth, Spirit of Truth. Her beauty was beyond imagination. Every stitch of her pure white garment was familiar to Him, for it was with His righteousness she was dressed, and He had personally woven that gown in cries, pain and blood, She wore the heavily bejewelled crown of glorious victory, His personal design. Humbled at the great bride-price that had been paid for her, meek, and with adoration written all over her sweet, excited face, she looked expectantly for Him. All of Heaven’s company rose with a great shout to match the sounding of mighty trumpets, and the great orchestrations of harps, cymbals and glorious choirs.
He rose to meet her, and receiving her hand from that of the beloved Holy Spirit, gazed momentarily upon this fulfilment of all delights, before He presented her, proudly, to His Father, whose crescendo of joy intimately matched His own. Loud and clamorous pealed the great chimes in the heavenlies. The eyes of the Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Spirit, shone with one ecstatic love for this long-awaited beauty, whose presence would change Heaven forever..
But, right at this moment, it was Judas who kissed Him.
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