Psalm 147:1-3 (NIV)
1Praise the LORD!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
How pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the exiles of Israel.
3He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
Recently we witnessed as Adam and Eve were exiled by God from the Garden of Eden. Their exile was the result of their sin and fallen state. It was the ultimate curse, the direct result of their actions.
In Matthew 26:50 we are witness again as Jesus is exiled from another garden, the Garden of Gethsemane: “Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.” Like Adam and Eve, Jesus was exiled as a direct result of sin and fallenness. However, it was not His sin, nor was it His fallenness. It was the sin of the world, of all mankind.
There is another exile that takes place in Gethsemane, following Jesus’ arrest. Matthew 26:56 tells us, “Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” This exile is self-inflicted. It is a choice. In the middle of the crisis, at the time Jesus was being arrested, in the build-up to the cross, Matthew tells us that the disciples “deserted him and fled.”
During this Lent season I had high hopes of giving up sugar, grains, soy, dairy, legumes and processed food in general. I made it nearly 38 days. But then I caved. I’ve been trying to give myself the benefit of the doubt – like, 38 days! Wow, good job me! But then I remembered when the disciples kept falling asleep on Jesus. God is using my failure to live in self-denial as a wake up call (pun intended) to not fall asleep on Jesus, to not desert him and go the other way. To stand up with and for Him when it’s so hard, when it means I have to deny myself (especially when I need to deny myself) and to serve and worship nothing before Him.
In what ways are you falling asleep or deserting Jesus?