on the way to the cross…
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus: “…How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.” Ephesians 1:3-10 The Message
From that night forty plus years ago when I cried out to God for HELP the Holy Spirit has continually guided me toward a deeper understanding of God’s Word. And as I have continued to grow in Christ He has moved me into areas where I can grasp higher and higher levels of meaning in what I read.
A simple trust in the Word of God paves the way for obedience and confidence in life. “If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Proverbs 3:5-6 TLB
I have revisited this little study, aimed at personalizing the seven days of Holy Week several times over the past few years. Every time I go back through it there is something new and precious that I missed the first time. This year I’m offering it again as a stepping stone toward deeper understanding of how the world was forever changed in seven short days!
Today [Saturday] as we read Mark chapters 9 & 10 these verses jumped out at me:
30-31 Leaving that region they traveled through Galilee where he tried to avoid all publicity in order to spend more time with his disciples, teaching them. He would say to them, “I, the Messiah, am going to be betrayed and killed and three days later I will return to life again.”
32 But they didn’t understand and were afraid to ask him what he meant.
33 And so they arrived at Capernaum. When they were settled in the house where they were to stay, he asked them, “What were you discussing out on the road?”
34 But they were ashamed to answer, for they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest!
35 He sat down and called them around him and said, “Anyone wanting to be the greatest must be the least—the servant of all!”
As we enter a modern celebration of “The Week That Changed The World” I am drawn to the words emphasized in bold text
Jesus wants to spend more time with me…teaching me.
I often miss what He’s saying, because I don’t understand and am afraid to ask what He means.
At other times I miss what He wants to teach me because I am ashamed to communicate with Him.
If I want to be ‘somebody’ for the kingdom of God I must be a servant as my Lord and Savior was a servant, even on the way to the cross.
Coincidentally [if you believe in that sort of thing] we also read 1 Samuel 23 this morning. In this chapter we find David inquiring of the Lord over and over…and God answering. David was a ‘man after God’s own heart’ – a servant and a king – and while fleeing from Saul through the wilderness of Judah he composed these words.
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psalm 63:1-5 NKJV
My prayer, during this Holy Week, is that each one of us will gain a deeper and more confident relationship with Jesus, accepting His desire to spend more time with us; teaching us and answering our questions. Then we can say, like David, “my soul shall be satisfied and my mouth will praise You.”