Trouble Comes My Way

Preparation for the Communion Lesson
Before the communion, the gospel hymn, “Trouble Come My Way” should be sung.

Scripture

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Introduction
This communion message deals with the troubles of life. Jesus faced several types of trouble in Gethsemane. His example comforts us as well as challenges us that it is possible to respond in a different, righteous way.

Warning
Only hours before his trial and crucifixion, Jesus makes a remarkable statement. He very realistically warns us of trouble – and then gives us the way out.

But here’s the catch – He himself is the way out!

Then, in John 17 we see that mere minutes after this confidence boosting claim, Jesus turns to heaven and prays for the unity of all of his disciples. According to John 18:1, after this, the small band of disciples sings a a final hymn (Psalm 118) and heads off to Gethsemane.

In Matthew 26:46-56, we read what happens: Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

In the book Just Like Jesus[1], the author describes the different types of trouble that Jesus faced.

1. First of all, he faced the frustration of UNFRUITFUL SERVICE. Take a look at the angry mob that came to arrest and him. Take a look at the fickle crowds who yelled, “Crucify him, crucify him,” – although they had shouted “Hosanna” just a few days before. How easy it is to become discouraged when we see our work for the Lord yield little or no fruit.

2. The second type of trouble he faced was pain of UNBELIEVABLE BETRAYAL. It wasn’t just Judas. It was all of his friends. The Bible says that all fled. Sure, he knew it would happen, but that doesn’t lessen the pain when reality hits.

3. The third type of pain he faced was probably the worst. He faced the dilemma of UNANSWERED PRAYER. In the moment that he needed God the most, he went into prayer, and all he got was a bit of comfort from an Angel. But God didn’t remove the trouble. In fact it got worse as time goes on. He cries out to God, “Why are you not here for me? Why have you forsaken me?”

Do you feel Jesus’ pain?
I have news for you. He feels your pain. He understands. And his promise stands: “Take heart! I am well aware that you will face trouble. But it won’t overcome you. I have already overcome the world.”

Personal Sharing
[This is a great opportunity for the speaker to share his own frustrations with unfruitful service, unbelievable betrayal and unanswered prayer]

Upward Call
What encourages you the most? Knowing that Jesus can relate to your frustration of unfruitful service? Knowing that Jesus understands what it means to be left alone by people who are supposed to be your friends? Or knowing that Jesus feels your pain when although you cry out to God, sometimes you don’t think he is in interested in answering you?

Prayer
Father, thank you for Jesus example in dealing with his own troubles. Thank you that he was not just offering us kind words – but that he truly understood what we go through – he truly understood when he talked about the trouble we face. Father, we turn our trouble over to you. We bring it to the cross and lay it down. As the song says, we are going to cry sometimes, but we also pledge to we are going pray and even shout with joy – knowing you are the final judge and authority. In the name of our brother, Jesus. Amen.

Reference
[1] Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1998), 131-133.

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