Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hopeless Is As Hopeless Does - SQOTW

yeah i fell asleep when you needed a friend
you were sweating blood and talking about violent ends
ah we're pulling swords talking real loud
pledging allegiance yes us a bunch of cowards

-- Hopeless Is As Hopeless Does, VOL from the CD V.O.L.

This verse, sang from the POV of one of Jesus' Inner Circle of disciples, relates the story of what happened with the Lord's chosen crew just before and at Jesus' arrest. Jesus had taken John, James, and Peter with Him into the Garden at Gethsamane. After many days of travel through Israel and, finally, a week of unrest, the Lord's death is near. He knows that and has taken His three closest friends into the garden to keep watch as He prays. In His hour of need, the worn out disciples fall asleep. A couple times Jesus comes back and rebukes them -- and they see Him, albeit weary-eyed, in His sweat and in His bad condition -- but the flesh is weak, and they continue to fall asleep.
Well, before that at the Last Supper, Jesus had foretold of His coming death, and Peter started the bravado with his statements that he would never leave Christ's side, not even for the sake of his own life. Following suit, the rest of the disciples claimed the same. They bragged how they'd never leave Him.

Now, as His prayer time ends and those who seek Jesus' life have come for Him with Judas, His betrayer, He awakens the three and they get the others of the twelve, now eleven. The mixture of soldiers, priests, servants, and Judas confront Jesus and the disciples. The betrayer steps forward and has an exchange with Jesus. Then, he ends the encounter with a kiss. The soldiers and servants step forward to bind the Lord. In the heat of it, Peter (and maybe one or two others) whip out swords. Peter, the most brash of the disciples, starts the fight, slinging a blow that rips off the ear of the high priest's servant. Almost instantly, Jesus turns to Peter and tells him to holster his weapon.

Then, the soldiers step forward, this time perhaps not just to take Jesus but to get the disciples as well. And what do they do? Peter. James. John. Andrew. Philip. Thomas. Nathanael. James (the lesser). Matthew. Jude. Simon. Every last one of them that offered Christ their allegiance takes off for the hills. They run like cowards. Later, as we know, Peter denies Christ the three times.

In His love, Christ forgives them, and after the Resurrection, He restores every one of them. Deep in the depths of me, that is sooooooooo hard to believe. I know it's Christ and have the knowledge of His love (and the story in retrospect) -- but who can hurt a person the worst? Those closest to that person. And in His time of need, his "friends" abandoned Him, seeking life for themselves. Still, Christ forgave them, and that should be a lesson to me forever.

After the crucifxion, knowing what generally happened to the followers of false Messiahs, the disciples huddled together in secret for protection. I wonder about the conversations they had together during that day and a half. And all their self-esteems had to have been shot. I bet it was one depressed place.

The last thing I'll mention is that I've often wondered if I would have run. Or would I run now faced with death or renouncing my beliefs. Prophetically, I think the Psalms tell that everyone was going to abandon the Lord at that point. But more appropriate is what I would do now. There's a lot of Christians in the world right now having to make that exact decision. Same thing historically. And I don't think any Christian should ever think themselves too insulated to believe that decision might not happen to them (sorry for the double negative) someday.

Let's try and make our hearts ready and then keep them ready.


codepoke said...

After the crucifxion, knowing what generally happened to the followers of false Messiahs, the disciples huddled together in secret for protection.

Can you picture having spent three years of seeing the things they had seen, and being there. Maybe He was a false prophet, and they had been deceived, throwing away their very souls along with their lives. Or maybe He was the true Messiah, and they had denied Him, throwing away their souls.

I had never seen the picture quite like this.

Have you ever heard the song, "He's Alive" about Peter's first encounter with the risen Lord? The scene in which Jesus accepts Peter back wipes me out every time.

Rich said...

Not sure if I've heard the song or not, but I can say that Jesus accepting Peter back is perhaps the most moving passage of Scripture for me.

As long as we're imagining thoughts, that run to the empty tomb by John and Peter after hearing Mary M.'s tale had to be something else. Peter had to be being pulled at all sides of himself to know what to think. Mary had talked to Him, the Lord, at least she said so. The flickering hope that maybe, just maybe, there was something to her words. But then what if there were? The last thing I did to Him that he saw was run, and the last thing I did before He died was deny Him, exactly as He'd said I would. "What would a risen Messiah say to me? But I can't help myself, I've gotta know." Peter's emotions had to be going haywire.

codepoke said...

I past this to save you from the dozen pop-ups.....

I've only heard it sung almost operatically.

He's Alive

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin' through
To drag us all away
And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
I hurried to the window
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldier's feet
But there was no one there but Mary
So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told me where she'd been
She said they've moved Him in the night
And none of us knows where
The stones been rolled away
And now his body isn't there
So we both ran toward the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they'd taken Him
Was more than I could tell
Oh something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go
Circumstance and speculation
Couldn't lift me very high
'Cause I'd seen them crucify Him
Then I saw Him die
Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I'd promised Him
Just added to my shame
When at last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
And even if He was alive
It wouldn't be the same
But suddenly the air was filled
With a strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove shadows from the room
And Jesus stood before me
With His arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And I just clung to Him and cried
Then He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into his eyes
The love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt in my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I'd ever had
Just melted into peace
He's alive yes He's alive
Yes He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
Has alive yes Has alive
Oh He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heavens gates are open wide
He's alive He's alive
Hallelujah He's alive
He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive He's alive He's alive

Rich said...

That is awesome. Brings tears to my eyes. And yeah, I think the writer(s) pegged Peter's likely thoughts.

Thanks, codepoke.