Posted by: rcottrill | March 15, 2017

No One Understands Like Jesus

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Words: John Willard Peterson (b. Nov. 1, 1921; d. Sept. 20, 2006)
Music: John Willard Peterson

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Peterson)
The Cyber Hymnal (John Peterson)
Hymnary.org

Note: Over a long career Peterson wrote over a thousand hymns, both words and music, and several dozen musicals and cantatas.

It’s rude. It’s hurtful. To retort, “Who cares?” in response to what others are saying is to show how small we are, how out of touch with the needs and feelings of another human being. To say, “Who cares?” is to demolish a bridge of hope and trust that may never be rebuilt.

Caring about (and for) others is a significant aspect of social interaction. It’s a part of what makes life meaningful and fulfilling. Many have written perceptively about it. One said, “The simple act of caring is heroic.” Another, “Only those who care about you can hear you when you’re quiet.” And still another, “The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else.”

Even so, the opposite of caring can often be seen. A craving for personal advantage and advancement can swallow up concern for others. A couple of examples come to mind from Scripture.

One is Ahithophel, a close friend an advisor of King David. He is likely the one David had in mind when he described, “a man like me, my close friend in whom I confided. We would share personal thoughts with each other; in God’s temple we would walk together among the crowd” (Ps. 55:13-14, NET).

But when the king’s son Absalom led a rebellion against his father, Ahithophel quickly deserted his long-time friend and joined the ill-considered uprising. No wonder David grieved, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9).

Judas Iscariot in the New Testament was one of the twelve followers of Christ, those who walked and talked with Jesus for about three years, and who were specially trained for future ministry. But Judas turned against his Master, secretly plotting to betray him for a payment of thirty pieces of silver. The Lord knew all about it, and applied to Judas David’s sorrowing words about Ahithophel, seeing in them a further fulfilment (Jn. 13:18, 26; cf. Ps. 41:9).

Who cares? Ahithophel didn’t, when he thought more of his own advancement and personal power than of his friend the king. And Judas didn’t care enough to remain loyal to his Lord. Later, he was so desperately remorseful over what he’d done that, like Ahithophel, he “went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5; cf. II Sam. 17:23).

How wonderful that the care and compassion of the Lord for us is more enduring than that! In the same psalm in which David expresses pain over the unfaithfulness of his friend, he urges us, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). And Peter, who witnessed the perfidy of Judas, echoed his words: “Casting all your care [anxiety] upon Him, for He cares [is deeply concerned] for you” (I Pet. 5:7).

Hymn writer John Peterson learned to do that during a difficult time. He wrote of an occasion, years ago, when he was working for an unnamed Christian organization. A supervisory position opened up, and his superiors said he would be promoted to it. Peterson was pleased at the advancement, and believed he could handle the job.

However, without notice or explanation, a man was brought in from outside the company and given the position. The caustic remarks of the new man toward Peterson further pained him. Discouragement gripped him. He felt alone and forsaken, and was tempted to become bitter, until he began thinking about the great compassion of the Lord. Who cares? He does!

It was those thoughts that led to the writing of a hymn.

1) No one understands like Jesus
He’s a Friend beyond compare;
Meet Him at the throne of mercy,
He is waiting for you there.

No one understands like Jesus,
When the days are dark and grim;
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus,
Cast your ev’ry care on Him.

3) No one understands like Jesus,
When the foes of life assail;
You should never be discouraged,
Jesus cares and will not fail.

Questions:
1) Did you ever have a time when you felt betrayed by a friend?

2) What did you do about this?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Peterson)
The Cyber Hymnal (John Peterson)
Hymnary.org


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