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Denial, Distress, Deception, Desertion, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2021 7:05 am

Denial, Distress, Deception, Desertion, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 26, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Commission: A Study of Matthew 21–28

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Dr. Stephen Davey
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Pastor Ernie Sanders
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Pastor Rick Gaston

Imagine the loneliness when Jesus was abandoned. When they came and took him at that point, all the disciples deserted him like rats on a sinking ship. Everyone, even John the Beloved, even Peter the chest pounding, super arrogant, overstating Peter, ran. Before he demonstrated his victory over the grave, Jesus endured a week of intense suffering.

It's commonly known as the Passion Week. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll invites us to witness the emotional and punishing moments that define the final week of Jesus' life. It includes one of the loneliest moments of his ministry, when Jesus was alone in a garden, pleading with God the Father for mercy.

His loneliness was intensified by the betrayal and desertion of his friends. Chuck titled today's message, Denial, Distress, Deception, Desertion, and we begin with prayer. Thank you, dear Father, for giving us those of whom the world is not worthy, faithful men and women who put aside the comforts and pleasures and privacy of home and give themselves to the military organization of which they were a part. Thank you for their willingness to bear arms, to run toward the battle, not from it, and to stand and defend our Constitution, our freedom, our great country. While not perfect, we acknowledge, Lord, nevertheless, it is the finest and we are extremely grateful to be a part of it. And on this day, we honor those who help keep us free.

Bless those families of which they are a part. May the lengthening shadow of their lives bleed over into those who are younger so that they take up the torch of patriotism and heroism, discipline, faithfulness, and courage. We commit to you, our Father, the future of this church, that you would sustain us by your grace, guard us from the clammy fingers of indifference, keep us from self-satisfaction, from arrogance, remind us over and over that we are here by your grace, remind us over and over that we are here by your grace, and we are a part of this ministry by your mercy. Use our gifts today, Lord, to sustain this work, to broaden its vision, to minister to those we will never meet in places we will never go. We give by faith and we do so joyfully and generously, even as these who are standing gave of their lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, we give and we pray. And everyone said, amen.

You're listening to Insight for Living. To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled Denial, Distress, Deception, Desertion. Realizing the intensity of his mission, for this was in fact the reason he was sent to earth, realizing that there was no further time to put this off, he was now there in the ever-present now of his mission. Interestingly, as they enter this garden, verse 31 of Matthew 26 tells us of a statement he makes not meant to be insulting, but a prediction with a severe warning. Tonight he says to his faithful 11, all of you will desert me for the scriptures say, and here he quotes from Zechariah, God will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered, but after I've been raised from the dead I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there. And they didn't hear that part of it. All they remembered was every one of you will desert me. That did it for Peter. No!

You'll read it right here. Verse 33, Peter declared, if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you. And Jesus, perhaps with that long index finger pushed against his sternum, said to Peter, I'll tell you the truth, Peter, this very night before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times before it's dawn. Three times, Peter. And in characteristic Simon Peter fashion, characteristic Simon Peter fashion, no! There's no way over my dead body would I desert you, Lord. I will never desert you. And you will notice at the end of verse 35, all the other disciples vowed the same. No, no, no, that's true.

We won't either. We're here. Notice he doesn't argue with them. He came to the place where the dialogue was to stop and prayer was to begin. So Jesus takes Peter and Zebedee's two sons, verse 37, James and John, his three closest, Peter, James and John, and he slips away with them to a place some distance from where the others are to wait and pray and to keep watch with him. He went on a little further and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, Father, my Father, if it's possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.

Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. And he said to Peter, and he said to Peter, look at Peter, Peter already asleep.

Peter, Peter, couldn't you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray so that you will not give into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Then Jesus left and went a second time, my Father, my Father with his cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it. Your will be done.

Your will be done. What an amazing, terrifying, awesome revelation. In all of this anguish, there was finally ultimate unconditional surrender. And as the silent as all of us are at this moment, he willingly accepted the cup and he took it for you and for me. And he returned and found them sound asleep, all of them. So he says to them, take your rest. You know what I believe? The fight is over.

The battle is done. In no way can identify, can I identify with anything near this anguishing, but I remember a time in my own life when our children were very small. And we were really up against it. And Cynthia was ill. And we had no money.

And I remember going out in the little alley behind our house and I just, I just poured my heart out to God. A sick wife at home. Finally got the kids down.

They were all asleep. And I just said, Lord, if you don't come through, I can't make it. I can't go on.

I was engaged at that time as an assistant pastor to a very fine man. And few people knew what we were going through. And I remember walking that alley as I just remember it so vividly. There were no lights in the alley.

I walked past a little intersection and I got about half of maybe four or five houses further. And suddenly it was like the road lifted. I heard nothing. I saw nothing.

There was no flash in the sky. It was in the dead of night, maybe 1230, one o'clock in the morning. And the battle ended. And the battle ended. Even though we had some tough, tough days ahead of us, my fighting through it had stopped. I will never forget walking back to our little home and opening the back door, closed the door and just slid down my back against the door.

I slid down and sat on the floor. And I just broke into sobs as I thank the Lord for whatever he planned to do and for relieving me of this battle, this fight. I think when Jesus returns to them, he's there. You will never find again from here all the way to the resurrection a fighting reaction. Oh, he answers questions when he is interrogated by Pilate, yes.

And he makes statements that are strong. But the struggle of the bearing of the cup, the drinking of the cup, done. Happened in Gethsemane. Don't ever forget Gethsemane.

Don't ever forget Gethsemane. Disciples slept through it. They are not ready for what's ahead, Jesus is. As a matter of fact, while I was knee-deep in my study, I suddenly had a flashing thought of a statement written by the prophet Jeremiah. Listen to it, because it fits the disciples perfectly. Jeremiah 12 five states, if you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, how could you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace wherein you trusted they wearied you, what will you do in the jungle of the Jordan?

You hear that cold, you hear that cold and I know you must wonder why in the world when I interrupt this man, it isn't an interruption. It fits. Jeremiah has come to a difficult place and he looks at his fellow Jews realizing that they have compromised their lives and given into corruption and he is saying to them hard times are coming.

They're not now but they will soon be here. So let me put it in today's terms. If you have been fighting on foot with the infantry and you weary on foot, what will you do when the cavalry comes? Strong men on strong horses with their swords and clubs. And if in this relative time of peace you find yourself weakening, what will you do when jungle fighting happens? When there is an acceleration of persecution and resistance, the reference to jungle is perfect.

The Hebrew word is jungle, in the jungle of the Jordan, and I checked it. The jungle is an environment marked by intense, often ruthless opposition or struggle for survival. That's our future. It isn't getting easier. The stories become increasingly more treacherous and if in this time of relative peace for most where homes are comfortable and lives are somewhat satisfied and affluence takes the place of courage and compromise plays its subtle role, stealing away our commitment.

What will we do when our environment is marked by intense, ruthless opposition or struggle for survival? My dear, dear disciples, implies Jesus, take your rest. What you have before you, for most of you, a martyr's death.

Right now, you have no idea. He's finished the battle. He's responded now to the Lord God. He's drunk the cup, if you will. He's ready for whatever and wouldn't you know it, that slithering snake, named Judas, comes out of the darkness with that deceptive smile, ready for a kiss, and Jesus doesn't even slap his face or punch him in the nose. He doesn't even hold him back. Judas says, greetings, Rabbi, and kisses him.

He doesn't mean it is affection. It's the sign for those with clubs and swords to make their moves. Here's your man. They grab him. There's a little skirmish. One of them in the flesh lops off one of the soldier's ears and Jesus looks at him like, please, please, we're no longer fighting with clubs and swords.

I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Get out of the way. I've resigned myself to that. So he says to them, go ahead and do what you come for. They arrest him. Don't miss the end of verse 56.

I told you to remember it. Look at the end of verse 56. When they came and took him, at that point, all the disciples deserted him like rats on a sinking ship. Everyone, even John the Beloved, even Peter the chest pounding, super arrogant, overstating Peter, ran.

And now he is like a mouse in the mouth of a big cat. When Caiaphas and his crowd get their hands on it, that's later. Can you find yourself here? We go through a passage like this, not simply to relive it, but to see the mirror. Are you among the self-assured, sitting, listening today, thinking, well, that would never be me. Don't even look at me like you think I would be one who would turn away. Never. Or how about even more arrogant, though all the others around, the others in my Bible study, the others in my home class, the others in my adult family, they may walk them. Not me. I'm here for the long haul. Bring it on. Or you may be in the struggle because you're facing something like I faced in the alley, and you're struggling with God's will or yours.

What he wants or what you want. Lord, not my will, but yours. How about among those who are falling asleep or in your own flesh, lopping off ears of others, trying to make your point about Jesus.

You're somewhere in here. May I confess to you that there is something I face toward the conclusion of every message I deliver. I rarely share this, but it's always on my mind. How can I help everyone remember what they've heard? How can I help you when you come to the word Gethsemane to remember?

Remember what happened. What can I say that will help you understand the agony of his soul when he finally said to the Father, not my will, but yours be done? It was while I was wrestling with that late in the preparation of my message that God brought to my mind a hymn I learned years ago, written by a woman who was a Quaker back in 1921. She, too, was concerned about the passivity of her religion, and she was afraid that somehow this sense of passivity would come over her, and she would not be the woman of God that she longed to be. The woman of God that she longed to be.

A woman with gristle and guts and determination and discipline in her world that was adrift. God gave her words that she put into into print, and then a melody was added to it, and it has been a part of our hymnody of the church for years. One of the reasons I love it that we stay with the hymns is because of history like this that can't be duplicated in yesterday's song or last week's, a poem. I want to end this message in a different way in hopes that it rivets these things into your mind. Find your hymnal, please.

Pull it out. Turn to hymn 310. You will see in the stanza that she writes, lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Don Agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary. I don't want us to sing this.

I think it will mean more if we read it, but I caution you in your reading your tendency will be to move too quickly, and a quickly sung song is a wasted song. Linger. Pause. These words were thought through carefully.

Let's read them carefully. First stanza, then the chorus, and then we pause again and last stanza, and the chorus beginning together. King of my life, I crown thee now. Thine shall the glory be, Lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow, lead me to Calvary. Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Don Agony, Lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary.

Calvary. May I be willing, Lord, to bear daily my cross for thee. Even thy cup of grief to share, thou hast borne all for me. Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Don Agony, Lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary. On this day, our Father, in the hours that pass, as we move from one event to another, bring to our minds these scenes where our Savior released his will and accepted yours. Take us on those quiet moments in days ahead back to Gethsemane, and as times of pressure mount, and hard times return, may we remember Gethsemane, his agony, his love for me, and then take us all to the cross and leave us there.

I ask this in the name of Jesus, and all his people say, Amen. It's been good to dwell in this scene, reflecting on the enormous way Jesus carried while in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is Insight for Living, and you're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll. Chuck titled today's study in Matthew 26, Denial, Distress, Deception, Desertion. Now if you'd like to learn more about this ministry or to explore the resources we have available on this study in the book of Matthew, let me invite you to visit us online at

And that's not all. To add to your daily time of reflection, Chuck has written a 30-day devotional book. It's called God's Word for You, and it's subtitled, An Invitation to Find the Nourishment Your Soul Needs. Every entry in this book contains an insightful quote about the Scriptures, a brief devotional from Chuck, a prompt to help you grow in spiritual maturity, and a Bible verse to meditate on.

And it's printed in a beautiful leather-like cover. To purchase a copy of Chuck's book called God's Word for You, go to slash offer, or give us a call. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. We are nearing the conclusion of Chuck's comprehensive study through the Gospel according to Matthew, and I'll remind you he has written a commentary that comes in two volumes. This, too, is available for purchase when you go to slash offer. And then let me send out a big thank you on behalf of Chuck Swindoll and our entire team to those who faithfully supported Insight for a Living in recent days. Your consistent giving has enabled us to continue providing Chuck's Bible teaching, not only here on your station, but around the world as well. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. To give a gift online today, go to Join us again tomorrow when Chuck Swindoll describes God's grace in Peter's most embarrassing moment. That's next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message, denial, distress, deception, desertion, was copyrighted in 2017 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-31 09:42:52 / 2023-07-31 09:51:00 / 8

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