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Monday, December 1, 2008

Going up to Jerusalem

"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem ... and they will mock [the Son of Man], and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." Then James and John ... said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" (Mark 10:33-38 NKJV)

"Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left." (Deuteronomy 5:32 NKJV)

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.
(Luke 9:51 NKJV)

I shudder to think of the times I've been as insensitive as Jesus' disciples. He describes His horrific death, and they respond by jockeying for position. Might that request for position on the right and left of Jesus have gone through John's mind when he stood at the foot of three crosses?

God plans for us a journey going up to Jerusalem. Like drunkards unable to walk a straight line, we inevitably veer off the path He designates, and seek an easier route slightly to the right or left. The only way to stay on course is to resolutely set our faces to follow in Jesus' footsteps.

The empty cross not only symbolizes Christ's resurrection, but also the vacant cross each of us faces, waiting for us to take our place upon it—every day. The surest path to fullness of resurrection life is via the cross, laying down the will of Self.

Lord Jesus, how did You say "yes" to every step going up to Jerusalem when You knew what awaited? You are our God. Please give each of us the endurance to stay the course—to say "yes" as You lead step by step, to learn to walk in Your ways, and to follow You all of our days.

"When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." ~ Dietrich Boenhoeffer

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