Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Jesus was troubled

Jesus was troubled in his spirit... (John 13:21)

Luna Park, in Melbourne, Australia, boasts the world’s oldest, continually operating roller-coaster. But another “roller-coaster” has been running a lot longer—the coaster of life. The rise and fall of circumstances can wear on us. We’ve all been on it: zooming to the crest of elation, plunging to the depths of despair, whipping around changes in the direction of our desires and will. John 13 hints at one of Peter’s more wild rides. At the peak he declared self-confidently to Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you,” only to rush down the slope of denying Christ a few hours later and bottom out, weeping bitterly (John 13:37).

Imagine how Jesus might have responded if he had not kept his eyes fixed on his Father: exuberance when entering Jerusalem, defensiveness at the Pharisees’ challenges, rage at being betrayed and handed over to Pilate, and complete absolute despair on the cross. Surely he felt deeply all that happened to him. Surely his emotions were taxed, even raw. But despite being on this roller-coaster, he held fast to his mission. He stayed focused on his conviction that his Father was faithful and that he was doing exactly what God had called him to do.

Holding firmly to his relationship with the Father kept Jesus in a position of trust and humility. As the end drew near, you can imagine Jesus filling his mind with thoughts from scripture: The Lord called me from birth. He gave me my name. My reward is with the Lord, even if I toiled in vain and spent my strength uselessly. God is my strength!

Perhaps he recalled too the words of the psalmist: In you I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. The Lord is my trust, my hope, and my deliverer. He has taught me to stand firm on him, to stand behind the fortress of his presence.

We can do likewise. This week, try to stay grounded as you ride the roller-coaster of life. Hold firmly to what you know of God. Remind yourself of what he has done in your life. Remember his cross and resurrection. Trust that he is riding that roller-coaster with you.

“Father, help me to follow Jesus’ example of steady confidence in you.”

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