Leading from between a Hard Place and a Rock

11 Feb

Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, and still, while He was overwhelmed, He led His disciples, showing us what sacrificial leadership is.  Mark 14:34


Even though His betrayer was in the room with Him, Jesus led His followers through the Passover meal, reading Scripture within the ritual.  While filled with dread for what is coming, The Word continued to teach His disciples, explaining the Scriptures they knew well in view of their present circumstance.


Although He knew that all of them would fall away, He led them in a song of praise to God after the meal.  His concern was not that His worship environment met His needs, or that He was surrounded by others totally committed to the Father who inspired Him to worship.  He worshiped God because His Father was the same in His present circumstance as He had been when He delivered Israel out of Egypt and protected every firstborn in homes that had the Passover lamb’s blood smeared on the top and sides of the doorway as the angel of death passed over.


In Gethsemane Jesus prayed as no one has ever prayed.  Deep pleading and total surrender collided, preparing the way for the redemption of the world.  He understood the great suffering that would begin with His arrest, which was moments away, and continue until the rock was rolled back from the tomb on the first day of the week.  And His disciples were there to witness His prayer– until they fell asleep.  Not once or twice, but three times.  Why Jesus continued to wake them up is not recorded.  Was He looking for support from His friends?  Was He checking on them to make sure they understood how to truly pray?  Did He want to make sure they did not miss this ultimate lesson in prayer?


Knowing He was headed toward the cross and that everyone, including His Father, would abandon and turn away from Him, Jesus continued to lead His disciples to the Father.  They listened as He recited Scripture.  They sang praises to God with Him.  And they stayed awake long enough to hear Him wrestle in prayer.

Heart-check for Sunday:

Am I running away from God or toward Him? (There is no other direction!)

When I am in hard places, do others see God through my anguish?  Do I pursue Him with more resolve, so that others are drawn to Him instead of feeling sorry for me?

Christ is our example.  Even in our struggles, especially in the hard times, our leadership thunders through rhetoric into the hearts of those entrusted to us.  Hardship is laced with teachable moments if we stand firm in our relationship with God and run to Him.  Everyone is watching.  Some will follow.


Illustration courtesy of Jonathan David Design


One Response to “Leading from between a Hard Place and a Rock”

  1. Anonymous February 14, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Reading these devotions was like sitting in a comfy chair chatting with you. Loved the insights God has given you. -RJB

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