(Jesus said) "Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? For this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name." ... John 12:27-28a
You can remember the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," can't you?
Yes, that's right. That's the tale of a boy who misused the wolf alarm. While the boy thought the trick of trying to get help when he didn't need it was hilarious, none of the villagers were laughing. The end result was when the boy really needed help nobody showed up.
Well, the news recently carried the story of a lady, 51-year-old Audrey Ferguson, who is the living, breathing embodiment of the boy who cried wolf. According to police records, between now and January of 2005, Ferguson called emergency workers to take her to the hospital no less than 100 times.
Eventually, the authorities became suspicious. Since each of these rides cost Medicare $425, plus $7 a mile, the police were prepared the next time Ferguson called for assistance. By that I mean the officers watched to see what happened when she was dropped off at the hospital.
What they saw was this: Ferguson told the hospital personnel she was feeling much better and didn't need to be admitted. Then she called her son to come pick her up. When the young man showed up, the police arrested Ferguson. They charged the "woman who cried wolf" with misuse of 911 and giving a false report.
I would love to say that Ferguson's story is unique. It's not. Scripture records numerous times when people tried to "misuse" Jesus.
Let's see, there were the people of Nazareth who welcomed Jesus to town because they thought He would be good publicity for their village. Then there was the multitude which, having been given a free meal, wanted to make Him King, so He could keep the chow line going. Of course, the disciples were always arguing about who would be greatest in the earthly kingdom they thought Jesus was going to create.
Today, we still have people who want to misuse Jesus.
They want Jesus to give them power; they want Jesus to grant them promotions; they want Jesus to provide prosperity, but they don't want Jesus to be their Savior.
Now, Jesus, motivated by God's great grace, came into this world for no less a cause than winning our forgiveness and buying our salvation. In the history of the world no person ever has or ever will be given a job more important or far reaching. To accomplish our redemption Jesus had to be rejected, beaten, crowned with thorns, and die on Calvary's cross.
We can understand why He might be upset when people misuse Him and make Him into a catalog of frivolous wants. While He is always glad to hear from His people, and He always listens to what they say, He wants them always to know His chief purpose was to save them.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for Your selfless sacrifice I give thanks. May I never misuse or abuse You and the wonderful work You have done to save me. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries