Far Away From Home
Lord, I pray for your sustaining strength and Holy Spirit to equip me and empower me along my journey of faith. Please don’t let me get ahead of your plan for my life and lead me to the very center of your will, no matter what challenges that may bring me.
Read: John 18:36, NIV
36 "Jesus said, ’My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’”
In 2007, I traveled with a mission team to Honduras to build a church in a little town of Tegucigalpa. When we arrived, none of our luggage did and it would be three days before it did arrive. There I was, in a strange place, with nothing other than the clothes on my back, miles from home. The leader seemed to be indifferent to the issue of having no belongings. After a good night’s sleep, we got up and traveled into town to a humble little thrift store. There we purchased used clothes as best as we could find that would fit us and headed back to the hotel. After a quick change, we loaded up and went directly to the job site to start working. Everything seemed so foreign to me, but it got more familiar as time went on. We began to fall more in love with the people of the little town each day we returned to the job site. The men offered to help as much as they could. The women made delicious authentic local fare lunches and the children played in the street with nothing more than sticks. What began as a feeling of awkwardness turned to comfortable familiarity as the week went on. It was great to help these people by building resources for them. They lived life on far less than we could ever imagine, yet they were so grateful for this building and what we did. The work was an unimaginable blessing to the team, perhaps more than to the town’s people, but we looked forward to getting home, too. From the time we packed up through the plane ride home, we envisioned what our ‘welcome home’ from our families would be like!
In today’s verse, we see Jesus standing before Pilate, undergoing judgement. He was far away from his heavenly home. The world he went to save was actually full of hate and contempt for him. While Jesus came to provide salvation to all mankind, he also knew that he was close to returning to his heavenly father. At this point, however, there was no one to defend Christ. Imagine the great loneliness and longing for home coming into his thoughts at that time. I wonder what it must have felt like for Jesus to answer to charges from the very people he was going to the cross to die for? While he was ultimately on a trajectory to the cross to redeem mankind, he responds to Pilate’s question about being “King of the Jews” in this way: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus, knowing that he was fully God and fully man, knew he was close to returning to his kingdom. Here is where we can see the greatest evidence for Christ’s love for us: Romans 5:8 (NIV) says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Do you feel alienated and all alone amidst the trials of your life? Do you ever feel that you are singled out or attacked because of your faith? Take comfort in knowing that you are ultimately not of this world, but a part of your Heavenly Father’s kingdom. Jesus promised that there would be trials in this walk of Christian faith. James said it best in James 1:2-4 (NIV) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Lord, even though I pray for you to use me, keep me focused and faithful as you take me at my word and put me in situations that may be difficult, but are instances where you have me…exactly where you want me to be.