Jesus knows me, this I love. Yeah, I know that’s backward from the way the song goes, but it’s true. Jesus does love me, and that is good [read: amazing] news, but he also knows me, and that is news that I love too.
During our morning devotion today, I was reading Matthew 26:30-35 to my kids. Here is what it says:
“Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.” (Matthew 26:31–35 ESV)
This doesn’t seem so great, does it? “Hey guys, I’m about to die for your sins, but you are going to totally abandon me.” Yuck. But here is what I love about this passage, Jesus was on his way to die for people he knew were going to abandon him in his greatest moment of need. Jesus knew their hearts. What’s more, is that he revealed their heart to them. He pointed out their sin and their need for the strength that they would only be able to receive through his death and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
That’s a wonderful thing to see. The Savior who is perpetually interceding for us (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25) does so in full knowledge of who we are. We are righteous because of his sacrifice and intercession, and he knows just what we need. For salvation, we need faith in him. We also need this same faith to grow in Christ, but we also need to see our sin. It’s at that point of grace that we can agree with Christ that “apart from him we can do nothing,” and ask him to strengthen us and help us to walk in him.
But that’s not how the disciples responded.
The disciples rejected the idea that they would ever betray Jesus. I asked my son, “what do you think they should have done here?” He said, “They could have asked him to help them.” Yes! When God helps us to see our sin our immediate response must be to plead with him for strength to walk away and abide. The good news is that he is not only willing to forgive and cleanse us (1 John 1:8-9), but he has even now given us the strength we need to live a godly life through our relationship with Jesus (2 Peter 1:3-8). Prayer is one of the major ways in which we watch for temptation and receive strength not to sin.
Not long after Jesus tells them of their abandonment, he invites the disciples to pray so that they will not fall into temptation. They should have asked Jesus for strength, and when they did not, he calls them to prayer anyway. Yet, here too they fail to take it seriously and they fall asleep. Their trust in their own strength meant that they failed to feel the sense of urgency Jesus wanted them to feel. When Jesus found them he said,
“And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt 26:40–41 ESV)
Here is what Jesus is saying: you are not strong enough. I know you believe you are, but this is bigger than you think it is. Your only hope is to fight this thing with the strength that God provides. So pray and ask for it.
Jesus knows me, this I love. I love it because he chose me in spite of my sin and weakness. His choosing me is what saved me from God’s wrath and sin’s hold on my life. I love the fact that he knows me because he is constantly revealing my sins and weaknesses, not to shame me, but to sanctify me. He does this to call me to prayer, to watchfulness, to the strength of God that comes through walking with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
Peter and the disciples did fail. They abandoned Jesus in his moment of greatest need. Yet, Jesus forgave them (except Judas, who did not come in faith) and began to build his church through them. Jesus knows all of his followers’ weaknesses and failures, even the ones you have not yet come into, yet he still chose you.
Jesus is calling you to see your weakness and to realize that you can’t do anything without him. He is calling you to call out for help to walk in the Spirit. He is willing to sit with you as you pray, and to strengthen you for the day. Don’t fail to see the sin that he reveals. Don’t fail to heed the call to prayer. Don’t fail to see that he is all you need.
Jesus knows you, and I hope you love that.
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