"When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem." Luke 9:51 (ESV). Chapter 9 of Luke constantly amazes me, reminding me of Jesus' love for us and His resolute determination to fulfill His plan for our salvation. In this one chapter, Jesus predicts His own death TWICE. The first is after Peter confesses his belief that Jesus was the Messiah, and Jesus charges His disciples to tell no one and then predicts His own death (verses 18-22). The second, in verses 43-45, follows His Transfiguration (v 28-36) and His healing of the boy afflicted by an unclean spirit (v 37-42). It is also here that He warns us that there is a cost to following Him (v 23-27) and (v 57-62). As I read this Chapter over and over this morning, my heart fills to overflowing, and I am cast down in the face of such overwhelming love. The old hymn rises "Died He for me, who caused His pain— For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" I am ashamed to think we, in our affluence and consumer driven pride would ever preach a prosperity gospel, a health and wellness gospel, and a gospel that focuses on blessings and supernatural powers to heal and prophesy that we can get ... NO DEMAND! ... as if being a Christ follower is all about the gifts and blessings in the face of He who set his face resolutely to go to Jerusalem, to humiliation, beating, and ultimately death for our sake. I pray that as Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter approaches, we would read this Chapter once more, meditate on what it means and what it teaches. Let us fan into flame our first love so that we may love Him and follow Him more in His truth and His likeness. Amen
That old hymn, I have instructed that it is to be sung at my funeral. I may just rise and join in with the chorus.. "My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose went forth and followed thee"
I honestly pray that God would forgive us for the way we have twisted His Gospel to suit ourselves.