March 25, 2013

John 18:11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

This is a point that I mention almost every time I talk about the cross, which is frequently. That is, Jesus went to the cross willingly. Had He allowed His flesh to persuade Him to do so, He could have avoided the cross. Jesus knew that He had come to die. (John 12:27) That in itself intensifies the depth of His sacrifice, because anticipat­ing something painful or unpleasant always makes it worse. Sacrificial heroes generally decide in a split second that they are going to do whatever to save someone, even at the cost of their own life, but Jesus knew early on, and that knowledge cannot have been an easy thing to bear. He never asks us to do anything He wasn’t willing to do Himself, and He said we are to take up our crosses daily. (Luke 9:23) Jesus truly gave Himself daily for us, not just that one time on the cross.

I am all too aware of the drag of negative anticipation. It is perhaps the biggest motivator behind my procrastination. If there is a task I don’t want to do, I multiply my discomfort many times by putting it off. That’s not “taking up my cross daily!” At the same time, I frequently counsel people who are in the same boat, agonizing over possible outcomes that haven’t materialized yet. That’s what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) Had Jesus not lived by what He taught, He would have been paralyzed very early in His ministry by anticipation of the incredible suffering on all levels that He endured in the 24 hours before His death. I need to live by what He taught, and lead others to do the same! One thing that helped Him was knowing what lay beyond the suffering, (Hebrews 12:2) and I need to keep that in mind as well. I don’t know things in such detail as He did, but I do know that the end result of a life of obedience to God will be more than worth any suffering or discomfort I encounter on the way. (2 Corinthians 4:17) And I also need to get that good news across to every believer I counsel.

Father, thank You yet again for Your grace. Thank You for the much better than anticipated outcome to the incident that came up yesterday. That mother has quite a track record of agonizing over things that never materialize! Help me be a strength and encouragement to all to whom I minister, so that together we may be able to say, as the song says, “I know who holds the future, and I know who holds my hand.” Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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