Joining Jesus – 21st January 2019

Welcome to Joining Jesus.

SPECIAL NOTE

On 1st March 2019, I will be beginning the ‘Joining Jesus’ Podcast and be launching a new ‘Joining Jesus’ discipleship process that will be available at The Rooftop Academy www.therooftop.org As such, to avoid having too many, and possibly confusing ‘titles’ I thought it would be best for the weekly email that I send to have the same title. Therefore, ‘Stay On Mission’ from now onwards will be titled ‘Joining Jesus’. If you are being helped by these emails, from 1st March, please feel free to find out more about the podcast and discipleship process. Here is this weeks article.

  1. A new life

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.  Matthew 16:21-24

I have chosen to begin the new series under the title ‘Joining Jesus’ with some of the most challenging words that Jesus spoke during His ministry.  The words above are also included in the gospels of Mark and Luke and they challenge us to the core.  But in this first article I want to focus on Jesus’ actions before we look, over the coming articles, at His words.

Matthew writes:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

These words may be very familiar and the problem with familiarity is that it can lead to us failing to let the truth of what is being said really impact us.

Jesus is about to share with His disciples that there is a huge cost involved in following Him.   But what is about to happen to Him makes it clear that the price He is will pay is even greater.  The words that stand out from the verse above are: ‘suffer’, ‘be killed’, and ‘raised to life’.  The outcome is going to be glorious, He will be raised from the dead!!  But this will not happen without Him suffering and being killed, as Paul writes to the church at Philippi:

And being found in appearance as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!  Philippians 2:8

Jesus suffering and death were not as a result of Him being overpowered against His will, it was an act of obedience which was necessary for His mission to be accomplished.  This is seen in His explanation to his disciples that ‘he must go to Jerusalem….’  He chose to do what would result in pain and even death because He knew this was required for His mission to be completed.  He was obedient to the purposes of God in the face of the most terrible torture that man has invented – the cross!

Obedience is a characteristic that seems to be out of vogue for many within the church.  We like to speak of ‘blessings’ that will bring benefits but not so much about obedience that will cost us something.

However, as with Jesus, the blessing follows the obedience, Paul continues in the letter to the Philippians:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:9-11

This week, I encourage you to reflect on the vital role that obedience played in Jesus being able to fulfil His Mission with the result that He was ‘exalted to the highest place’.  What does this mean for you as a follower of Jesus as you seek to join Him in His Mission?

Dennis

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