It is Ash Wednesday and as much as I am a proponent for practicing a “setting aside” time for the forty days leading up to Easter…I am a rebel by nature and have an inward wiring that fights against my best intentions.
I am, like you, a work in progress and there are certain things about me that we have to work around while God continues to refine the nubbins out of my orneriness….
So it was as I went to bed last night that I prayed ….
Lord, thou knowest me. You know the way I sabotage the things that are for my good. So help me to set my heart on pilgrimage tomorrow and Lord, lead me in appropriate ways of reflection.
And He did.
My reading in the Jesus Keep me Near the Cross book was from John Piper and as promised, I am sharing a few of the highlights with you.
The devotion is centered on passages from Luke 18 as Piper meditates on what it meant for Jesus to set His face for Jerusalem and how this was so misunderstood by His disciples.
They saw it as a triumphant finality to the wandering. Jesus was going to take over and establish Himself as King in the line of David.
This was their moment.
And while they jockeyed for the positions in this new dynasty that was going to take place when the boys were back in town…Jesus gave them this news…
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him…”Luke 18:31-33
And like toddlers who don’t want to hear it’s time to pick up your toys and head to bed, the disciples were not listening and could not understand what He was saying.
And Piper poses this question in his writing:
“Does discipleship mean deploying God’s missiles against the enemy in righteous indignation? Or does discipleship mean following him on the Calvary road which leads to suffering and death?…When Jesus set his face to walk the Calvary road, he was not merely taking our place; he was setting our pattern. He is substitute and pacesetter. If we seek to secure our life through returning evil for evil or surrounding ourselves with luxury in the face of human need, we will lose our life. We can save our life only if we follow Christ on the Calvary road.”From adaptation of “He Set His Face to Go to Jerusalem” sermon by John Piper; Jesus Keep me Near the Cross, edited by Nancy Guthrie, Crossway Books 2009. Pages 18-19
Lent offers us the opportunity to examine our ways and see how they are lining up with the pace set for us by the One who gave His life for ours.
By His grace and with His help, I am looking forward to sharing the Journey with you as we make our way to Calvary <3