Christ Lives

weekly theme #22*

week containing Easter Sunday

Jesus’ resurrection was not possible without his death.  Nor can I have a new life without the death of my old life.  This death of my old life will involve pain and suffering, and I avoid those whenever possible.  That avoidance prevents the death of my old life.

Jesus said, “The time has come for me, the Son of Man, to enter into my glory, and God will receive glory because of all that happens to me.”  (John 13:31)  He made that statement just before Judas betrayed him.  It seems to me that Jesus was looking beyond his pain and suffering to what awaited him, a new reality, starting with the resurrection.  He wasn’t blind to the pain and suffering in this reality. “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” (Mark 14:34)  He lived in the tension of both realities.  I tend to focus on worldly reality, and that can lead to a lack of spiritual power and endurance.

I just read chapters 18 and 19 of John’s Gospel.  Jesus was taken through torturous hours that tested him in ways I do not even know, and he endured.  Yet he did more than endure – he taught, challenged, modeled, protected, and refrained from saving himself.  He remained true to his call.  How can I not be inspired?

I go to my Gethsemane to plead for an exception and to hide.  I do not willing surrender myself, but I resist, complain, and feel sorry for myself.  I have great zeal to protect myself from the crucifixion I so desperately need.  I’m seeing how my life, my carnal life, has repeating crucifixions on the road to holiness.  On this road, my mind must not be focused on the crucifixion’s pain and suffering but on the resurrection’s hope and glory.  Basically it amounts to this, as long as I crave the life on this side of crucifixion more than the life on the other side of crucifixion, I am my own opponent to reaching a new, resurrected life.

“Let heaven fill your thoughts.  Do not think only about things down here on earth.  For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”  (Colossians 3:2-3)

*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

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