So I’ve started a lot of blog posts this past month, but due to many, many, many things (happy things!) happening in my life right now, I haven’t finished or posted any of them. I’ll write an update sometime (as if you actually missed me) (who even are “you”), but here’s just my thoughts for now, not super polished or researched, just my thoughts, so that something new will actually end up on my blog today.
Like a lot of people, this week I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Different aspects of this have intrigued me through several lenten seasons in recent years. Just that phrase from Luke 9:51, “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem,” struck me so powerfully one day. For the first year I noticed that, I thought a lot about what that meant. Jesus set out for Jerusalem… to be killed. Jesus set out for Jerusalem… to be betrayed. Jesus set out for Jerusalem… though he could have gone back. And He resolutely set out! How did He have the strength for that?
That phrase makes me see my sin so well sometimes. The second year during Lent, I would think, “Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem right now, and I am ______.” Fill in the blank with some useless waste of my time. While I’m idling, while I’m complaining about how I can’t be a missionary right now, while I’m – get this – disappointed at God and the Christian life, He is resolutely headed toward Jerusalem (and all that that entails) FOR ME. Nothing I’m doing here and now will change that. He heads out resolutely just the same.
I have done nothing to deserve His grace. And I have done nothing to deserve the way that He’s shown it. Not only did He die to save me, He resolutely died to save me. He decided, way ahead of time, to do all that He did.
This year I’ve been thinking about that a lot. In between Jesus resolutely setting out for Jerusalem and what happened in Jerusalem, what did He say? How did He act?
…What did I find? That as the day got closer, He was only more concerned for His followers to know Him for who He truly was. He was only filled with more compassion for every person. He continued to teach about good, good things, like faith the size of a mustard seed. Like the parable of the prodigal son. Like heaven. The pages between Luke 9 and Luke 23 are filled with healing in His name, turning praise to the Father, and His welcoming of children, lepers, rich men, and poor women. Did He even know all these people would leave Him alone when He needed them? YES. Did He even realize where He was going? YES.
Jesus, how I don’t deserve Your grace. I don’t deserve to enter those gates, even when You’ve made a way for me. I don’t deserve to be saved, or to have a second chance. But I definitely don’t deserve YOU. I don’t deserve for You to be the person You were while surrendering Yourself to what awaited You in Jerusalem. Maybe You loved me at first, but how could You love me while heading to Your betrayal and gruesome death? How could You love me now that You’ve felt my sin on Your shoulders, in Your gut, infecting Your purity? Now that You’ve known each ugly thought like it was Your own? God may forgive me now, but I deserve Your resentment. Your bitterness toward me. At least Your indifference. But no, THIS was your prayer for me on the night you entered that city to be killed:
“I have given them the glory that You gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them, and You in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You have sent me and have loved them even as You have loved me. Father, I want those You have given me to be with me and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
Those words are from John 17, one of my favorite parts of the Bible, when Jesus is praying to the Father in the garden right before He is betrayed. And they are still what He wants for me. He wants me to share in His glory, and to be with Him. He wants me to know the Father’s love as surely as He knows it. He doesn’t wish that the Father would NOT pour out on us. He does not wish for the Father to see the sin He paid the price to erase forever. !!!! Friend, if you don’t see yet that Jesus is GOOD, I don’t know how I can help you. Read the red letters in the Bible. They are everything. Come with me to church on Easter Sunday. Though it is Good Friday, and Jesus is hanging on the cross and bearing our sin, let us rejoice that He is STILL the Savior full of lovingkindness toward us, every. single. moment.