The Beauty of the Ashes: To Whom Can I Turn?

Who Can I Turn To?

Thus says the Lord:
Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals

and make mere flesh their strength,
whose hearts turn away from the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:5

As the Lenten season draws to a close, we find ourselves midway through Holy Week – the final week of Jesus’ earthly life before the cross. Over the next 48 hours we see how Jesus went from spending some of His closest, most poignant times with His disciples, to being utterly rejected and left completely alone. A careful reading of Psalm 88 prophetically reveals the despair of Jesus as He hung all night in the pit of darkness awaiting the coming torture of the Roman scourge.

He had so much yet to say to them as he made preparations for their last supper, which would usher in the eve of his betrayal. How could he keep his thoughts from racing ahead to what was about to happen? It was Wednesday, and while several of the disciples were busily making preparations to celebrate the Passover, Judas found the time to slip away and betray Jesus.

In His humanity, Jesus was deeply troubled by the thought of the inhumane torture that awaited him. And, when everything within him would scream to find some human way out of such peril, He chose to put all His trust in God, His father – His Lord.

Judas however, who knew the Lord of life as close as anyone, who walked and talked with Jesus, who saw him heal the sick and raise the dead – chose to put his trust in mortals. He chose the strength of flesh over the power of Heaven in which he saw the glory of God miraculously manifested before his own eyes. 

“Thus says the Lord:Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals”

Each of us are faced with the same choice as were Jesus and Judas. When life turns too difficult to handle, when it seems the answers we need cannot be found, it is precisely then that we too must choose as they did. We can be as a shrub in the desert and will not see when relief comes our way (Jer. 17:6). Or, we can be like a tree planted by streams of water… when drought comes, we will not cease to bear fruit (Jer. 17:8).

Who will you turn to?

He who trusts in the Lord will have his ashes turned to beauty…

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved;
for you are my praise.

Jer. 17:14

Shalom for a Holy Lent,

Pastor Brad

Image credit: https://www.123rf.com/photo_39835730_jerusalem-israel-march-3-2015-the-mosaic-of-the-betrayal-of-jesus-in-gethsemane-garden-in-the-church.html

About the Author
Brad is Associate Pastor of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene, and the founder of the Merciful Servants of Christ, a spiritual formation teaching ministry of Brad Riley Ministries.

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