Have you ever been at the end of your tether? This was a rope fixed to a stake in the ground, with a grazing animal fastened to the end of it. The animal could go so far and no further.
What do we do when we’ve gone as far as we can and the rope is at breaking point?
What would Jesus do? Was Jesus ever at the end of His tether? How about when He became so angry that He threw the money changers from the temple courts? He ‘scattered their money and overturned their tables’ (John 2:15). But, before that, He must have sat down and made a whip. He must have been composed and deliberate. He was angry at the affront to God by the misuse of the temple. His was a righteous anger, not strained to breaking point. He knew exactly what He was doing.
Jesus spent forty days in the desert being taunted and tempted by the devil (Luke 4:2). What did He do? He came against the enemy with the ‘sword of the Spirit’ - the Word of God, as the counter attack. And the devil ‘departed from Him until an opportune time’ (Luke 4:13). Satan used all his ingenuity to trap Jesus, and failed. Perhaps it was the devil who was at the end of his tether?
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus knew the end was near. He knew what He had to go through, and perhaps wasn’t sure if He could do it. ‘Being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground’ (Luke 22:44). He cried out to God,‘Take this cup from me’ (Mark 14:36). Had Jesus finally come to the end of His resources, pleading with the Father for a way out? No. In the same breath He went on to say, ‘Not my will, but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42). Jesus gave Himself up, quietly. God’s way was the only way.
Surely the cross was the ultimate test; when Jesus took upon Himself ‘the sins of the whole world’ (1 John 2:2). God turned His face away. He couldn’t tolerate sin, not even in His own Son. And Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘My God ... why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34). Was this His breaking point?
Jesus called to the Father, ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit’ (Luke 23:46). He surrendered to God. It seemed the end had come. Having promised so much, now He was dead. But victory came when He was gloriously resurrected to a new life, having overcome everything, including the devil himself, winning freedom for us all.
Jesus had no tether. When the chips were down He gave Himself completely to the Father. When His strength ran out He surrendered to God.
Through Jesus we too have access to God. He is our refuge, our stronghold and our strength. In Him we have no tether.
Prayer: Father, it’s sometimes hard to go on, when I feel I’ve come to the end. Your Word tells me ‘when I am weak, then I am strong’. Please help me to see Your strength in my weakness and to look to You to carry me through, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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