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A Step Too Far

In Matthew's account of Judas' betrayal of Jesus in Gethsemane, Jesus says, as he was being seized, ". . . all this has taken place, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled" (Mt. 26:56).

This is too much for the disciples, for the next verse reads, "Then all the disciples deserted him and fled." They had witnessed Jesus' obedience to his Father for three years, but this was a step too far. Betrayal, condemnation, and death fulfills Old Testament Scriptures? Despite the Lord's warnings that this was going to happen, they did not anticipate the reality of his words. Like we all would, they fled. It's one thing to read about the Lord being our shepherd and leading us unafraid through the valley of the shadow of death, and another to actually follow someone into this shadowy, dark valley.

Humanly speaking, Jesus' story and that of his disciples ends here, with betrayal, condemnation, and death on a cross. But, fortunately for all of us, God continues the story at this point. If Jesus' death is what we all must endure, God has something else in mind not only for His Son, but for us all.

The story continues, but now in a supernatural way. The supernatural has already broken out in Jesus' ministry, in the feeding of thousands, in walking on Galilee's waters, in healings, and in exorcisms. But now, God's supernatural acts reveal themselves on a whole new level. The Jesus who died on this planet, is raised from the dead on this planet.

A new kind of life is revealed, a life that is rooted in God and is as eternal as God is. What we could only know in theory from the Old Testament prophecies, we now can know experientially. We see lived out before us in Jesus what he had previously told us is true: we gain our lives by losing them. Now, we have a life that transcends death. Where Jesus went, we can now go, unafraid.

Now, we live in the life of God's love and no longer fearfully in the valley of the shadow. The door between heaven and earth that had been closed since Eden, is now open. What Jesus told Nathanael about himself, is now true for his disciples as well:

"Truly, truly, I saw to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels

of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

(John 1:51)



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