Thursday, March 28, 2013

THE FLESH by Tony Manley

Some years ago, there was a movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? I never saw it, so I can’t speak to what it was about, but I thought about that title with a little bit of a twist during Jesus’ final times. “Guess Who Showed Up With A Vengeance at the End?” became a surprise I realized as I have “lived” the details of this part of Jesus life.  

I feel as though I have gotten to know a little more about Barabbas and Pilate, but by far, I saw that the flesh has been the greatest, most prominent visitor in this setting.

As I think about it, the flesh was very “front and center” at the dinner with the disciples…think foot washing, clueless, and maybe even some jockeying for greatness…wouldn’t this have been a great opportunity to demonstrate love for the Passover Lamb? If only the flesh would have been less quiet, more attentive, and satisfied just to be.  

The disciples’ flesh conquered their time in the Garden when Jesus asked them to pray during His hour of great need for strength. The inability to deny flesh enough to stay awake and pray was a sobering moment as Judas and the mob arrived to seize and arrest Jesus. Then flesh encouraged them to run when the going got tough. And they did.

Pilate sure let flesh lead his heart over what was right. Flesh likes to take the path of less scary and the easy way out. 

Peter definitely cowered down to flesh in the intensity of the moment. Flesh can be a surprise under stress. 

But Jesus…our Shepherd, Savior, Lord…was greater than flesh! He demonstrated the ultimate flesh killer - a heart that says, “Not my will but Your will be done.”

Flesh is one of those things that will always be with me everywhere on this side of heaven. Flesh doesn’t care about anyone or anything but itself. Flesh is shallow, irresponsible, and undependable.
The good news is that flesh can be defeated by a heart that is bowed, surrendered, and obedient to the Holy Spirit. I do not have to fear or be controlled by this intrusive presence. The Word promises He is greater. Jesus demonstrated these truths over and over again. But when He stood up after His prayer of preparation in the garden for what was to be His long night and day of finishing His earthly race, that was the beginning of the ultimate example of flesh being defeated. 

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