(Jesus again predicts His death)
“”They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem”, he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.””
This passage, to me, shows so many things about our Lord. He was a leader. He was fixated on the goal the Father had for Him. He kept himself and His disciples focused on this goal, bringing it up, dismal as it sounded to them, at just the right times during his discipleship to them. As I read it a few days ago, I wondered, “why were the disciples astonished?” Was it due to the determination with which Jesus proceeded to His goal? I can see that look of determination on His face. I saw a bit of this look on Hannah’s face when she made up her mind that she was going to walk. She had incredible determination…..
He pressed through His time here on earth with this goal always in His mind. He came to pour out His blood for all of us…for our sins…for our salvation. He came to be a servant to all. He was the ultimate sacrifice that was worthy in God’s eyes to atone for our sin. During the passage above, the disciples and Jesus, if you look at a map, crossed over many different types of terrain. They crossed water most likely, mountains, valleys, and through cities to their destination in Jerusalem. The picture in my mind as I read was of Jesus pressing forward with unbelievable commitment and determination toward an incredibly painful, but perfectly obedient goal. They were making their way to Jerusalem…and this was where Jesus, not too much later, would be crucified. Every now and then, when Jesus was with his disciples, he would prophecy His death to them…most of which they didn’t comprehend at all. He brought it up to keep himself and them focused on His purpose and their purpose as well. As He was making this last journey to Jerusalem and spending His last days with his disciples teaching them and explaining to them what will come, He pressed forward with such incredible determination. What must that have been like for Him? To make that difficult journey back towards what He knew to be His death?
I long for this kind of determination to be obedient to God….even when I know that obedience might be very painful. I cannot imagine pressing forward like Jesus to the goal that God had planned for Him. He had faith. He trusted God. He did not waiver. This unwavering faith is what I desire. This faith led to perfect obedience for Jesus. He never lost that picture, that goal that He came here to achieve–He pressed forward and claimed victory over darkness and death FOREVER!!! He knew the final outcome. I’m so thankful for His perfect obedience.
Even in His death, He was perfectly obedient. Mark 15:37 says, “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
He didn’t believe at first…but when he saw how Jesus died…he believed. I cannot fathom being obedient to God to that degree. But, Jesus was. He was perfectly obedient. He had perfect faith. This faith gave Him incredible power from God the Father. And THIS is what he mostly talked about during His ministry here on earth. FAITH. Many times, it is explicitly said by Jesus…”your faith has healed you.” ‘Because you believe, you are healed.’ “This man has great faith.” Other times, it is implied. But, it is always there.
There are so many things for which to believe God. It may not seem like the issue is about faith, but it almost always is. Everything is possible with God. So, the issue lies with us.
It takes great faith to trust God with the strength to be obedient when our bodies are weak or sick. It takes great faith to not retaliate when someone hurts us, trusting God to avenge us in His perfect love and timing. It takes great faith to be humble in everything, trusting that God will exalt us in His way and in His perfect will. We can choose to live by sight. We can choose to live by our insecurities and put up the walls of pride to protect us…or we can choose to walk in the light, cast our insecurities aside, giving them to the Lord, find our security in HIM, ask Him to tear down those walls, and live in faith, walking humbly with our Lord, trusting Him each step of the way. It takes GREAT FAITH!!!
I must choose to trust God in each and every situation. I must choose the path of obedience, keeping the end goal in mind–eternity with God in heaven, and in the mean time, God’s unfathomable love, protection, provision, and blessings here on earth.
Lord, help me not lose sight of this goal. Help me have the impeccable determination of Jesus to keep pressing on toward the goal to please you on earth and be with you in eternity in heaven.