Letters from broken men.
“Break me Lord.”
Not a comfortable or easy prayer to say, who wants to be broken? We admire strong people, not broken people, our culture, in film, in business, in politics, is based on people being strong. It goes against society to be weak, to be broken.
But Jesus, God in human form was broken: Arrested, tortured and executed. His body broken and blood poured out for the sins of the world.
Shortly before the arrest Jesus and his Apostles had a meal. Jesus took one of the ordinary elements of a Passover meal, unleavened bread, broke it and said, “Take; this is my body.1” Then they all drank from a cup of wine, after which Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.2” Luke’s version of events says, “This is my body, which is given for you.Do this in remembrance of me.3”
In what followed the Apostles all became bro.ken men.
One who had already betrayed Jesus, when he realised what this betrayal meant, committed suicide. The tragedy for Judas Iscariot is that he did not live long enough to hear Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.4”
Nine of the remaining disciples ran away scared. Only Peter went in to the temple courtyard,but even he, the strongest of all the Apostles, he had been with Jesus, realising what he had done he broke down and wept5.
Only one was left to see Jesus die. He was arrested for his faith and exiled.
Some time later, a young keen theologian, someone trained under the best that there was at that time, was so eager to get rid of what he saw as a dangerous heresy that he had followers of Jesus executed, not only in Judea, but was on his way to Damascus in Syria when Jesus met him in a vision. That man was broken by his encounter with Jesus, and years later went on to become a great missionary of the early Christian faith. Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of the church, went on to become the Apostle Paul. But before the change he was broken. Of his former life he wrote, “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.6” The word translated ‘rubbish ‘in the ESV and ‘dung’ in the KJV, Σκύβαλον, is a much stronger word in the Greek: Paul was trying to shock his readers.
The New Testament is a series of letters from broken men, teaching us that the way of Christ, how to live as a Christian, is to be broken as Christ was broken.
Shortly before the last supper, this happened:
And while [Jesus} was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.7”
Here is a woman. The perfume represents her past, she would have used it to attract men, and also her future. She gave up her past and her future in one simple act of pouring out what she had.
Who wants to pray, “Break me, Lord?” It goes against everything we know to want to be broken.
It is a dangerous prayer, it could cost you everything you have, including your life, being broken for Christ cost the disciples their lives. But it is the way of Christ to be broken. I dare you to pray it.
Break me, Lord. Amen.
Bible readings unless otherwise noted, are from the Gospel of Mark, ESV.
114:22, 2v 24, 3Luke 22:19, 4Luke 23:34, 514:72, 6Phillippians 3:8, 714:3-9.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.