26
Nov
07

Fatih Lesson 12 – Forsaken

On our fifth day of touring we visited the site of a church known as St. Peter In Gallicantu on Mount Zion.  This church remembers the denial of Peter when Jesus was before Caiaphas, the High Priest.  Beneath this church are the remains of what many believe to be the house of the High Priest himself.  As you enter the church passing a sanctuary decorated completely with beautiful mosaics, you begin a downward descent to what appears to have been a dungeon for keeping prisoners.  Although it completely wrecks our tidy little calendar of when Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and crucified, it is almost certain that Jesus was held in solitary confinement for 24 hours prior to being sent to Pilate.  This was a regular part of Jewish law, when trying a person accused of blasphemy.  Here in this place I read this particular Psalm, and our group stood in cold darkness for a few minutes afterward, imagining as best as we could what it must have been like for Jesus to be in such a place.

Psalm 88

1 O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. 2 May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.
6 You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah
8 You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape;
9 my eyes are dim with grief.

10 Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? Selah
11 Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
13 But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
15 From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. 17 All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.

Afterwards we went outside the church to a set of stairs that date back to the first century, meaning, these were steps that would have been the most likely steps Jesus would have taken after being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and taken to the house of the High Priest.  As we stood outside the church on these very steps.  I shared with the group these thoughts: 

This week we have talked about following the rabbi.  But here in this place we see one path that Jesus our rabbi walked by Himself, completely abandoned by His closest friends, abandoned by even God, His own Father.  This is one path, down which we are not expected to follow Him.  Ours is to simply believe He walked it for us, and to love him for that.  He was abandoned that we might be accepted.  What more is there to say, but “Thank You!”

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