Recently, my family and I read Matthew 26:46-55 and it really made us think.
Earlier Jesus tries to tell the disciples what's going to happen but they're not getting it. They have plans, big plans.
Perhaps they were thinking, "He is the Messiah after all. Everyone knows what that means. He's a conquering king. These Romans aren't going to know what hit them."
But He keeps telling them things that do not jive with their plans. The most recent of which is that someone would betray them. I mean how random is that? Why? And, even weirder he says they'll all scatter. Why would they do that? They've been following him for a long time now.
Then, He goes to the garden. to pray. Now this is pretty normal and common practice for Him so no red flags, but He tells them to pray, and there seems to be an urgency about Him,.
They fall asleep... twice. Maybe John notices the drops of blood on Jesus (he seems to be most aware) Is Perhaps they were thinking, "So we fell asleep. What's the big deal? I mean He's God we're not. "
Then, minutes. later their whole world collapses. Suddenly there's torches, shouting, lead by...Judas? What? Not Judas. He's been with them the whole time. He was their friend. He saw the miracles.
"Don't worry Jesus, I got this. Lucky for you I kept my sword. I'll take out the little guy. You say the "I am" stuff again, and we're good to go!" (I am adding this, of course, Peter at this moment was a man of action and no words are recorded). Instead Jesus heals the man's ear.
Instead of a Messiah who was going to lead the world (at least the Romans) with them as His right-hand men, their Messiah was being taken away like a criminal. And they scattered.
It ends (so they think) when Jesus dies a horrible death.
All their plans gone. They'd had it all figured out and now this. I bet to them It seemed like their ordered world just got very random.
How familiar this may seem to some of us. We're just going along with our lives. We may get some indication from Scriptures we're reading that something is hard coming our way, but hey God has given us a specific direction, it's probably just a coincidence, right? Yeah. Things are humming along and then, there's a lost job an accident, cancer or fill in the blank.
"But Lord," we say, "I, we had this plan. What is the deal?" It seems so...very...random. But it's not. It's all part of the plan. This awful thing, will be used for the good thing, if we can just believe and submit to it.
Because ,just like with the cross, God promises that this evil, death, horrible thing can be used to birth a really good thing in us.
Look at the disciples.Their plans, no literally their savior had died. But what they had forgotten is that their God was bigger than their plans, bigger than death itself. Jesus wasn't done. He was just beginning.
And that's true for you. Whatever you're going through.
God often doesn't act in ways we understand, and we think, "Woah, what is this about, God? I was serving you and this is how you reward me?"
It's not that He's random or mean, it's that He's bigger. He is so big that, just like the sculpture who uses a hammer and a chisel, He uses the evil of sin and death to knock away those very things in us to free us from the stone; to mold us and shape us to what He needs us to be.
That's what the resurrection was about. It was the bigger, most important picture. The great end of the surrender He had made in the garden.
Because the most random events, weren't random at all. They were planned from the third Chapter in Genesis when God told Eve "her seed" would bruise Satan's head. They were the bigger picture. Had this bigger picture not come into play, we would have no hope. Neither would the disciples.
The next scene is them fishing again. At our family study, Pat remarked that the disciples probably went back to what they knew. I mean, it was great that Jesus was alive and all, but what did that mean to them?
No more big plans to help rule the world. No more fishing for men... So many times when "our plans for God" don't work out isn't that what happens? We find ourselves back where we were before the trial, just kind of doing what we know and waiting on God. Kind of numbly wondering what's next. Pat and I had to confess, there've been many times this year, we've thought we had things figured out, only to find out that God had a different, harder, not very American dreamish, happily-ever-after, ducks in a row plan.
But, as hard and challenging as they may seem, we have to know they're not random. They're for a bigger purpose. Maybe it's to help us grow. To keep us from making an idol out of something that's too important to us. To show us how much we need God, but it's not accidental and it's not for no reason. God promises us that in Romans 8:28. Many of us have quoted it.
Romans 8:28King James Version (KJV)
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
But, back to the disciples. I like how the story ends, don't you? He meets them fishing. It's so great the way He does it too. They can't catch any fish just like the first time He and Peter met. (Luke 5:3-5)
And Jesus calls from the shore for them to put their net on the other side. That sounds familiar. "Could it be?" They throw their nets on the other side and they catch tons of fish (literally their nets are breaking) and then they know.It's him. And then there He was, cooking fish for them on the shore.
He eats with them, talks with them and gives them a new vision. They then take the Gospel to the world.
So what about you? Have you had your old vision revamped? Perhaps, like the disciples, your political future seems to be bleak.
Remember the disciples. The thing that seemed the most like death was the key to life. Wherever you're at, if you know God, He is there too. It's not random, it's God's sovereign plan. And often times just when it seems like He's finished with you, that's when He's ready to get busy.