Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Scripture-- Matthew 25-Matthew 27

Observation:  These were hard chapters to read.  The emotion and the power of these words weighed heavy on me today.  The two parts that stuck out were the Parable of the Talents and the time in the garden.  Every time I read the Talents, I think, “But God, I’m not sure I can handle more. You’ve given me so much, what if I let you down.”  Then I got to the garden.  Jesus had just shared the last supper with his disciples.  The ones he trusted.  The ones who had just in 26:34 promised not to deny him.  The ones who were supposed to be so good, fell asleep three times.  Jesus said to them, in verse 38:   "I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying. Stay here and keep awake with me."  I would have stayed awake!  But they fell asleep so many times.  Then Peter denied him.  They let him down.  The ones who were given so much, let him down.

Application:  Its easy sometimes to say that we are doing “all we can do”.  That we are “being good’.  But I know there are times I’ve fallen asleep.  I know there are times I’ve rejected or denied him.  I know there are times that I could be better.  And I’m so thankful for his grace.  That he took the cup.  That he followed through on the path.  Even though I’m not worthy.  Even though I mess up.  I hope today that you don’t leave with feelings of shame or guilt, but the love of a God who went to the cross for you!  That you will always have a second chance.  That God will give you more.  God gave Peter more.  You will get more too!

Prayer:  God, forgive our betrayal.  Forgive us when we fall asleep.  Forgive us for being in the number who crucified you.  Forgive us our sins.  Let us leave this moment knowing we are loved and forgiven.  Bless us not because of what we can do, but because of who you are.  Because you shared your cup, and made a new promise with us.  Thank you.  Amen.

(edited:  go to this song!  It will be good with your worship!!  http://www.youtube.com/embed/ILtKwWPILCo)

Pastor Emily


dwcal said...

Emily, thank you so much for telling us not to go away this AM w/ feelings of shame/guilt! I always do after reading these passages. First, the talents--I've always identified w/ the "lazy, wicked servant," because I would have done what he did fearing that if I invested it I might lose it all. And I can't say w/ confidence that I would've stayed awake when Jesus went off to pray in the garden. I worry that I don't do enough for the "least of these." And I also am afraid I might have acted cowardly like Peter did in the courtyard. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us all second chances!

Lindsay said...

Yes, thank you for that too, Emily! I do find encouragement in the people who witnessed Jesus's miracles first hand... and heard his parables from his lips... that these men let him down at times. My heart just breaks because Jesus knew they would let him down, knew they would deny him... knew that I would do the same... and he still submitted himself to God's will out of love for those disciples... and love for us... and love for me. What love. Thank you Lord, for your overwhelming love.

Mary said...

Was the disciples sleeping in the garden part of God's plan? Was the pain and suffering of Jesus' prayer/conversation with the Father more than they could take, more than they could understand. Peter cuts off the ear of the guard and Jesus tells him no, so they all run. The only way they think they could help was fight for Jesus, but Jesus knows that is not the plan. Separating from the disciples, his friends, and then on the cross separating from God, was all part of the punishment that Jesus took for me and my sins, for all of us and for every sin. Praise God!
The girls waiting for the groom to come and some wander off to get oil for their lamps? Do I have what I need? Am I ready for Jesus to return? (I think the wedding clothes from yesterday are a similar symbol to the oil in the lamps and doesn't literally mean clothes.) Are we ready and have what we need to join Jesus in Heaven? He told us in the verses dealing with the hungry, thirsty, stranger, sick and in prison what we need. Do we show His love and compassion to all those around us? Do we worship Jesus with everything we have like the woman with the perfume? Or count the pennies like the disciples?
Emily, do you remember the Sheep Go to Heaven song from your youth? There is a new church sheep/goats song with lyrics right out of Matthew.
Pray that our church leaders remember the Commandment to Love Others at Annual Conference. Emily, let us know when that happens!

Carol Flores said...

Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding (25:10). Two things come to mind...I am in no way ready...then next...I am human and I never will be perfectly ready without the forgiveness and grace of my God. I too am afraid like the servant with the one talent. Look what he missed out on simply because he was afraid. We live with all kinds of fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of persecution..on and on. I need God's help to overcome my fear and step out on faith in full obedience to God's will. Even Jesus seemed afraid and who wouldn't be when anticipating the agony to come. He knew it would cost him everything but he knew God's will and voluntarily paid the price. Talk about extreme and love. Thank you God for loving us all so much. Help us love others as if they were Jesus himself. Amen.

Lynne Watts said...

This is certainly a heavy section of scripture. It is hard to read even though we know the end of the story. Think how hard it must have been for the disciples to live through. I so appreciate the story of Peter. Here is someone who messed up everytime he turned around and yet as Emily says, God gave him more... God built the church on him. I heard someone say recently that instead of saying "I lost, I failed" we should be saying "I learned". That to me is the lesson of Peter. He tried, he failed, he learned, he succeeded. What if he had never tried? What if he had never failed?

Kennesaw UMC said...

Thanks everyone!

Mom--(Mary!) I do remember that song, and I've heard the new one too!

Annual Conference went well today. Looking forward to three more days. Today was the ordination service and the first vote. I'll let you know more when there's more to tell!

I'm not so sure that its God's PLAN that we do wrong. I see where you are going--that in order for us to be saved he had to be killed. But I'm not ready to say the disciples fell asleep because it had to happen that way. That would be like saying that bad things happen because they are God's plan. And honestly, I don't believe that. I think evil happens as a consequence of our choices. Not because God wills it.


Love you!

Mary said...

Maybe it wasn't bad that the disciples fell asleep. Maybe it was God's way of saving them from too much pain, from being too involved in what they could not understand yet.

Eve said...

These passages are hard to read and from reading them yesterday I felt real sympathy for Judas. I know what he did was completely misguided and wrong, but I don't think he did it for the money. I've read commentaries that maybe Judas was "trying to force" Jesus to destroy the Roman occupation and set up a new Kingdom on Earth; he just didn't get what Jesus was talking about. The saddest part is that instead of learning from his mistake and remembering all the "love" lessons from Jesus, he gave up and took his life (at least that what it says in Matthew). He missed out on redemption and forgiveness because he couldn't see past that moment in time.
Father, I pray that no matter how hard things become or how bleak the outlook, help me to remember this is only temporary and that better things are in store for me.