…Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
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Our Lord clearly knew of all the suffering He was about to go through. He spoke numerous times in all four Gospels about what would happen to Him during His last days on earth. One example being in Matthew 16:21 where it says:
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples
that he must
go to Jerusalem
and suffer many things
…and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Even though Jesus foreknew all this, He did not alter His course, for He always saw through Gethsemane and Calvary and the outer darkness. He saw through all the shame and humiliation, the suffering, the pain, the torture.
What the saints of old called,
“The Passions of Christ.”
He did all this in total obedience to His Father in heaven. For He had a goal that He wanted to accomplished. This goal was first and foremost that His heavenly Father would be glorified and that He would ultimately be reunited with Him and sit down at His right hand.
Also within His goal, He came to “take away the sins of the world” and to destroy death, so that we would be given the opportunity to accept Him as
our Lord and Savior.
During all He went through,
He was focused and steadfast
He was determined and undistracted.
He had a purpose and no one was going to stop Him from accomplishing it.
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Now our Lord does not want us to be naïve. For Jesus understood what He was about to face concerning the suffering that was before Him. He wants our eyes to be fully open to the path we will travel if we accept His challenge in Luke 9:23.
Therefore, you can view the Passions of Christ in fear, dread and unbelief,
and back away.
you can meditate upon them in awe and wonder and faith
accept our Lord’s challenge of following Him.
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It is in Hebrews 5:8 where it says that:
Although He was a son,
He learned obedience from what He suffered.
As we are obedient to Him, we too will experience all that our God has for each of us. Yet to embrace hardships and suffering as methods for learning obedience, this is something where we will definitely need to count the cost. For we are speaking of, for the most part, unknown and as yet unseen hardships and difficult challenges before us. As we ponder what our response will be, it is good to remember that our God promises us:
That He will never leave us nor forsake us,
and that He will always be with us.
Yet, also we must learn that it will be the world, our flesh and the devil who will try to stop us from reaching our goal of purity of heart and Christ likeness of character. And most importantly, our success will depend on an active, vibrant, abundant, intimate relationship with our Triune God. For this reason, for these goals to become a part of our life, as it says in Hebrews 12:7:
Endure hardship as discipline;
God is treating you as sons.
For what son is not disciplined by his father?
Always remember, as we are in the midst of these sufferings and hardships, we could easily be caught off guard, taking our eyes off our goal and placing our focus on the immediate circumstances. Yet with Jesus as our example, as it says in Hebrews 12:2:
…for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross,
It is Bill Johnson who says:
That heaven is all about joy!
That is why Jesus saw through all He had to face, the joy of being with His Father was worth all He faced. What will our sufferings be? Well, we know they will be unique to each of us. We know that in these hardships and sufferings we will:
Yes, we will be refined in the refiner’s fire.
In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though refined by fire—
may be proved genuine and may result in praise,
glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Also, as we willingly volunteer to walk this path and follow our Lord, His word promises us many wonderful truths that are very affirming and encouraging, full of hope and a future. We see many of these promises in “Our Identity as a Son.”
Are they true? Yes!
Will they be void of hardships, pain and suffering? No!
In fact Jesus says in Matthew 5:11:
“Blessed are you when people insult you,
persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you
because of me.”
What is vitally important are the last three words:
because of me.
But we deceive ourselves if we wrongly identify any hardships in our life as suffering for our Lord, when in fact we may be in rebellion or disobedience. And instead of saying we are experiencing hardships, we should be repenting of sin.
What does it say in 1 Peter 2:20:
“But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating
for doing wrong and endure it?
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it,
this is commendable before God”
We will need to learn the difference between the pain and suffering brought on by hardships while being obedient to our Lord and the pain we experience because of disobedience in our life. For pain is pain and suffering is suffering, yet the fact is one produces fruit in our life (Galatians 5:22-23) while the other is just the by-product of sinning.
Does the cross have power? Yes!
Where is it?
Rightly accept Jesus’ challenge, be obedient and you will experience the transforming power of our Lord’s cross.
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