Going to Jerusalem Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
He is the Holy One of God. When my sin was put upon Him, It was repulsive. I don’t know why we think we are so attractive to God. My sin put upon Christ was repulsive and awful. It was terrible and for a moment he rebelled against it. But the Lord had come to do the Father’s will, so He could say, “not My will, but Yours, be done.” He committed Himself to His Father’s will, although bearing your sin and mine was so repulsive to Him.
Dwight L. Moody once heard a preacher declare the world had yet to see what God could do with a person completely dedicated to His will. Moody determined to be such a person, and the world felt his impact. What could be done through us if we had a similar commitment to do God’s will? The journey that Jesus took was the Father’s will, but by taking the journey He was a willing offering.
Some view the will of God as Him forcing His will on us. But God did not coerce Jesus to die on the cross. The message that Jesus spoke and His nature made the journey inevitable.
Sin and holiness conflict; holy people have a hard time in this world. Jesus knew this but He still remained willing to give Himself. He said, “Therefore My Father loves Me because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18).
Christ became our sin offering. He voluntarily offered himself for our sins to free us from sin and death. He says that all of this is the will of the Father. The Father loves Him because He died for us. We also ought to love Him because He died for us. He made Himself an offering for sin. On the cross, during those three hours of darkness, God the Father put upon Him the sin of the world, and He went through hell for you and me. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep.
The writer of Hebrews explains, “(Christ) said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’…” "(And) By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9-10).
Here is one of the most beautiful pictures in all of the scripture. The Lord Jesus came to this earth, grew to manhood, and at thirty years of age, He begins His earthly ministry. When He came to the end of that ministry He could say, “Which of you convicteth Me of sin?” because He never sinned. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. He could have stepped off this earth any day He wanted to, gone back to heaven and left this world in sin; left you and me living in slavery to sin. But He loved us, and God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son.
And think about this precious thought. Jesus was given a body; but why was that? It was for death, so He could die on a cross. “By that will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Are you a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? If you can answer “Yes!”, then you need to know this—He has been given the body of believers, we call the church, for His bride. In His prayer, in John 17 He said, “They are mine. You gave them to Me.”
Jesus made the Journey to Jerusalem, because He loves us; He paid the price for us.
The last thing to notice is that Jesus would lose life to find life.
Jesus said that we are to take up the cross. Christ’s offering brought life.
In order to possess that life, we must offer our lives. At Easter time, we celebrate the event that culminated Christ’s journey to Jerusalem. Do not forget that the crucifixion preceded the resurrection. The discovery of life comes in the loss of life. We must do God’s will and give our lives. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
There can be no life without that courageous decision to commit to Christ. “Following Jesus” is the definition of “commitment.” Commitment demands a choice. Jesus wasted no time getting to the heart of commitment: either the disciples would be committed to Him and deny their own desires, or they would be determined to go their own ways and deny Him. The choice to commit is the same for all believers—either we deny ourselves or deny Him; either we go His way, or we pursue our way.
Talking about Christ would be meaningless without the walk with Him. The disciples were to take up their crosses. Jesus challenged them to put themselves voluntarily under God’s authority, doing His will His way. Commitment demands action; it cannot be divorced from responsibility. It extends beyond our relationship to the heavenly Father to other areas of life.
Ruth’s words of commitment to Naomi did not speak as loudly as did her actions. She left her family and homeland to return with Naomi to Bethlehem. Commitment definitely limits choices because it is exclusive. For example, in a commitment to marriage, God’s plan is for one woman and one man to commit to each other exclusively and permanently.
Jesus demonstrated in the Garden of Gethsemane that the Father’s will always takes precedence over His. The next day, He picked up His cross, demonstrating that He would do the Father’s will the Father’s way. Commitment builds up your faith and develops your character. It is a spiritual discipline. It is a lifetime venture, requiring time, work, and determination.
As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, He taught His disciples along the way. For the disciples, it was a time of spiritual preparation, renewal, and dedication. On His way to Jerusalem Christ tried to lead the disciples into God’s will and to enable them to give themselves to Him. The Master Teacher taught crucial lessons about values and motives.
Will you join me on a journey to know God’s will and to do it? Will you make the commitment to follow Jesus wherever He leads, even into the hottest spot? Set your face toward Jerusalem, remembering the words of Him who has gone before you: “Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
For the next few weeks we are going to study those people who were part of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem; Peter, Simon of Cyrene, and Mary Magdalene. We will examine Jesus’ determination to face crucifixion so that He can reveal God’s love for sinners.