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Let’s say that you are walking along, and inadvertently you step in some quicksand. The more you struggle, the deeper you sink.  Finally, you are up to your neck and you are about to be buried alive. The end is near, but then someone comes by, sees you, and extends the hand to save you.  What do you do?  Do you insist on seeing some identification, or do you have the need to know the person’s political party preference?  No, you grab the person’s hand and get pulled out.

The Israelites found themselves in a similar situation. The Babylonians had destroyed their cities, their temple, and deported them to a foreign land. There the Israelite nation was about to be erased from history. The Babylonians turned to them and asked, “It is obvious that Yahweh, your God, has abandoned you. He has turned his face from you. Why don’t you join us?  Our pagan gods have been very good to us. We have a successful empire and a powerful army. We are respected by all the nations; we have beautiful gardens, which feed our great economy. We built magnificent buildings, and cultivate the finest education. So, join us.” The Babylonians were reaching out to them before they would disappear from existence, and do you know what Israelites said? “No thanks! We are staying with our God.” The Israelites were certainly flawed, but there is one thing they do well. They stay with God no matter what happened.

Look at the disciples. They were all flawed. They were terrible at discipleship. They never understood what Christ said. They were constantly saying the wrong thing. They were afraid all the time. They had God in the boat with them during a storm and they were still afraid. Peter got out of the boat and immediately sank, even though Jesus stood by Him. They were awful at discipleship. But one time Jesus spoke to the crowds saying “If you want eternal life you must eat my body and drink my blood.” The crowd said that this was too hard to understand, and they left Him. Jesus turned to his disciples and asked if they would leave Him as well. Peter spoke for the group and said, “I have no idea what You are talking about, but we will never leave you.”  The disciples will continue to be flawed but they are good at one thing—staying with Christ no matter what happens.

This is the lesson of the Cross. No matter how bad it gets, no matter what everyone else says or does, no matter if you think God has abandoned you, you stay with God. Why? Because this is what we do really well. We may be flawed but we are good at one thing. We never leave God. 

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