Not for the Faint-hearted
“Lord, give me vision to inspire me that, working or resting, I may always think of You” (Kevin of Glendalough, Irish missionary, who died in 618).
Read Luke 9:51-62
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The demand of the cross is for total surrender–nothing less. We must feel the weight of the cross if we are to play our part in the drama of the world’s redemption” (John N. Gladstone).
Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem required a steely resolve, for what lay ahead was an encounter with pain, rejection, isolation and loneliness so unimaginable that even Isaiah’s prophecy could only inadequately describe it (Isa. 53:3-6 ). Jesus knew what awaited him, but he didn’t hesitate because of his love for us and the Father. All that he did was shaped by this love, and it took him to the cross. It was for us: “it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him–our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we are healed” (Isa. 53:4,5 The Message ). We need to sit with this knowledge every day, allowing it to seep into us, so that it shapes who we are.
Jesus had barely begun his journey and the rejection began. Blinkered by their theology, the inhabitants of the Samaritan village refused him hospitality and friendship. It was a tragedy, and one closely matched by the reaction of James and John. It’s difficult to know which would have grieved Jesus more. Their call for a vengeful incineration of the village and its inhabitants couldn’t have been more contrary to the character and teaching of Jesus. Over time, like Peter, they would come to understand the wonderful patience of God, and his desire that no one should perish (2 Pet. 3:9). How encouraging, in the light of our own capacity to misunderstand or misrepresent Jesus, to know that such transformation is possible. The apparent harshness of Jesus’ three sayings (57-62) has to be considered in the context of what lay ahead. Those who remained faithful to him would experience persecution, not power and prestige. It would be far from a comfortable life–discipleship was not for the faint-hearted.
Following Jesus is a lifelong journey. Are you still willing to pay the cost? Talk with God about this now.
Forgive me, Lord, for often living life looking through the rear-view mirror. Direct and strengthen me to look ahead and live life trusting the future to You.
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