Lent Devotion for March 25
"All Forsake Jesus"
Reader: "I am scorned by my enemies,"
Response: "and despised by my neighbors."
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 31:11
I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 14:48-52
48 Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 49 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me.”50 Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. 51 One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, 52 he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.
Reader: “The word of the Lord."
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Once again King David’s psalm is so descriptive of Jesus’ situation. David was a kind of pariah to his “friends.” They had no desire to be associated with him in any way. Jesus’ situation was even worse. These twelve men had traveled with Him for three years. Think of the hours they had spent together, eating, talking, sleeping, and at times arguing. Three had been with Him when they saw Moses and Elijah on the top of a mountain and actually heard God speak from a cloud! They had seen Jesus do many miracles, much more than are recorded in the Bible. Peter had walked on water. They saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. They heard Him preach the greatest sermon ever uttered on earth by God himself! You would think that would do it when a mob came after Him. Peter did swing a sword to no avail. But at the moment of greatest pressure for the disciples, one betrayed and eleven fled, one so desperate to escape, he ran out of his clothes!
Had you or I been one of the disciples, the truth is, we would have done the same thing. We’ve done it when we stood idly by as someone ridiculed a Christian co-worker or belittled Christian morality. At work, someone spoke of the glories of making your own truth or railed against the Scriptures and we said nothing. Had we been in the Garden with Jesus and the disciples, the Scriptures would not have read, “and all the disciples deserted him and ran away except for (your name).” Clearly, we have all fallen short and deserted Christ when we should have been a faithful disciple. We too have been naked and ashamed before God. That sort of thing happened in another Garden where nakedness brought shame as a result of sin. Those people attempted to cover themselves unsuccessfully with fig leaves. God covered them with animal skins, which meant that blood was shed to cover their rebellion. Our Savior did the same. He covered the disciples’ and our nakedness before the Father with His own shed blood as He hung naked on the cross a few hours later. Greater love has no one ever shown.
MUSIC: "The Love of God” by Wintley Phipps
O divine Father, whose mercy ever awaits those who return unto Thee in true lowliness and contrition of heart, hear now one humble suppliant who needs Thy help. Bravely have I set out upon the life of a new day; now I lie down ashamed and burdened with memories of things undone that ought to have been done and things done that ought not to have been done. My mouth was shut when it should have been opened and opened when it should have been shut. Bring to me afresh O God, Thy healing and cleansing power, so that again I may lay hold of the salvation which Thou hast offered to me through Jesus Christ my Lord.
—John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, p.79, adapted by DS