The Trust of Jesus

Jesus said, “Why are you so fearful? Have you still no faith?” He trusted the Father in everything. Pastor Charles Edward Jefferson explains.

“Father, lead me — I trust You with my life”

“We are trying to see Jesus as he was. It is surprising that we do not know him better when his image is so vividly portrayed for us in the Gospels. The very familiarity of the story has a deadening effect upon the mind. We have heard so much of Jesus ever since the days of childhood, have heard so many teachers and preachers speak about him, that the mind has hardened and refuses to be impressed by him.”

“Many of us have had faulty methods of Bible study. We have studied the Bible piecemeal, in scraps and patches, getting a knowledge of isolated passages and never putting together the various parts so as to see Jesus as a man among men. We have caught, it may be, one trait of his lovely character; we have fixed our gaze upon one bright particular star, and have missed the sweep and swing of the constellations; we have picked up a pebble now and then and have failed to take in the curve of the vast shore and the swell and surge of the sea.”

“If you were to ask me what is deepest and most fundamental in the character of Jesus, I should say, it was his trust in God. I see not how anyone can read the New Testament without feeling that this to him was the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. It was the heaven above his head, the earth beneath his feet, the atmosphere he daily breathed, the spirit in which he was saturated, the music that ran through all his conversation, the inspiration of all his life.”

“When he was dying on the cross many people laughed at him. . . . Among these people, strange to say, there were members of the Sanhedrim, chief priests, scribes and leaders — they all ridiculed and scorned him, and the climax of their vituperation was this, ‘He trusted on God!’ No blacker jeer ever was belched forth from the jaws of hell than that. . . . But that is what the religious leaders of Palestine did when the Prophet of Galilee was dying. The dark and terrible sentence throws a blaze of light upon the teaching and the conduct of Jesus. His whole course of action had made upon the people among whom he moved the impression that he trusted in God.”

“Master, Teach Us How to Pray”

“One can dip into the Gospels where he will and find things which bear testimony to Jesus’ trust in God. . . . He is everywhere and always a man of prayer. At the crises of his life we find him praying. At his baptism and the transfiguration, in the garden, on the cross, he is pouring out his soul to God. Before every important action, in the midst of every difficult situation, at the completion of every stage of work, we find him praying.”

“It was a common thing in Palestine for men to pray, but no man had ever prayed like this man, with such simplicity, with such earnestness, with such boundless trust. Men gathered round him awestruck and said, ‘Master, teach us how to pray’. . . . Prayer was an indispensable feature of Hebrew piety, but men who had prayed from earliest youth felt when they heard this man pray that they had never prayed at all.”

“The word which he applied to God was Father. Only occasionally in the long sweep of the ages had a soul here and there ventured to apply to Deity a name so familiar and sweet, but Jesus of Nazareth always thinks and speaks of God as Father. He names Him this in his own prayers, he tells other men that they also may use this name. To trust in the goodness and mercy of the good Father was his own intensest and fullest delight; to induce others to trust in Him also was his constant ambition and endeavor.”

“Will Not God Bring about Justice?”

“How much Jesus has to teach us at this point. It is often supposed that it is easy to believe in God. The fact is, nothing is more difficult to do at certain times and in certain circumstances. It is easy, indeed, to say one trusts in God, but really to do it when justice seems dead and love seems to have vanished, that is difficult.”

“All of the centuries groaning with agony, all of the ages dripping with blood! Who can look upon the sufferings of the innocent, or hear the cries of the oppressed, or witness the slaughter of the pure and the good without asking himself: Does God know? Does God care? Right forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. . . . Vice triumphs over virtue, dishonesty tramples upon honesty, injustice lords it over justice, hate defies and defeats love. This happens not once but ten thousand times.”

“Some men read the dark and terrible story and give up their faith in God. Jesus looks upon the same scene and gives to it a different interpretation. He sees good men come and offer their services to the world only to be rejected and repulsed. One of them is stoned, another is beaten, another is killed. Their dead bodies are piled up in sickening heaps, but to Jesus this is not evidence of the indifference of God — it is the proof of his long-suffering patience; it is because he is not willing that any should be lost that he keeps on century after century, sending into the world prophets and apostles, heroes and saints, who shall proclaim the message of heaven to bewildered and sinful man.”

“Do Not Worry about Your Life”

“Many a man has for years trusted in God only to discover when evil fortune came that his trust was not strong enough to stand the shock. The very best and strongest of men when overtaken by misfortune are obliged to readjust their faith. For a while they are stupefied and dazed, scarcely knowing whither to turn or what to think.”

“Jesus of Nazareth had all the dark experiences which it is possible for the soul to have. He had a work to do to which he gave all the energy of his brain and his heart. . . . He had a message to communicate which he was certain would drive away the gloom and the woe of the world . . . but the crowds melted away like snow banks in June. There were at last only twelve men who stood by him, and the hearts of these were so fluctuating that he said, ‘Will ye also go away?’ To these twelve men he gave himself with passionate devotion, pouring into their souls his own very life. But the boldest of them turned out a coward, and one of the most trusted of them became a traitor, and when the crisis in his life came they all forsook him and fled.”

“But notwithstanding his disappointment, his trust in God was unbroken. In the midst of the tempest his torch kept on burning, and he cried, ‘Be of good cheer’. . . . He was persecuted as no other man before his day or since; he was maligned, abused, execrated. Men called him crazy, others said he had a devil. He was accused of blasphemy, of treason — but his heart remained sweet. Men buffeted him and abused him, hissing at him their ingratitude and hatred, but he said, ‘The cup which my Father has given me to drink, shall I not drink it?'”

“Father, Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit”

“Then finally he failed. . . . We do not ponder this often enough. . . . We dwell upon the things which have happened since his death, and dwelling upon these we see that he has succeeded; but it should never be forgotten that his life on the day of his death was a terrible and heartbreaking failure. Injustice was stronger than justice, unrighteousness was mightier than righteousness, hate was stronger than love. He had tried to induce the world to accept a beautiful truth, but the world spurned him. . . . He still looked to God saying, ‘Not my will but thine be done’. . . . If it is necessary, he said, that I should be sacrificed, that I should be trodden under the feet of the men who are thirsting for my blood, if that is the will of the Infinite Father, then to that I gladly submit.”

“Jesus of Nazareth, in the midst of the wildest storm that ever blotted out the heavens and caused the earth to quake, looked steadily toward God, saying, ‘Not my will but thine be done.’ Look down across the ages and see the great men, how they are swayed and tossed by the winds and storms; but there above them all there rises this man of Galilee like some majestic mountain, his peaceful head outlined against the blue.”

Excerpts from The Character of Jesus by Charles Edward Jefferson (Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1908)

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