Mark 10:33-34 - (Jesus said) "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him. And after three days He will rise."
Do you want to grow in your faith? Do you want to grow closer to Jesus? The way forward is to follow Jesus' example of service and even suffering.
Facing the problems of life head on, disagreeable as they may be, increases your yearning for the Savior and His Word of grace and mercy. In serving others, even to suffer with them, we begin to understand firsthand how sinful this world is, how fundamentally flawed we are, and how we hurt others despite our best intentions. In short, when you give up being preoccupied with yourself and instead become focused on real people and their problems, then you start to get it. More and more, it gets into your head and heart how desperately all humanity needs a Savior. In lives of service, we see firsthand the necessity of repentance and feel the Savior's compassion for all people.
That's it! That's the way to present the Good News of Jesus. What you are experiencing in your life is real life. Don't wish for an alternate reality. Are you a parent struggling with a child? Are you a caregiver running on fumes? Are you a teacher in a tough school, and underpaid at that? Are you a minister worn down by your congregation, discouraged because they're not showing the love and joy of the Gospel? Are you a social worker or a volunteer at a food bank? Are you in jail? You're experiencing life, real and nasty, in this world of sinful people. Jesus comes to bring redemption and hope to you and through you to the people in your world. In the midst of the day's problems, throw yourself into the arms of God. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68b).
Like Jesus' first disciples, we too are walking with Him, walking to His suffering and death, and each of us should be making our way in repentance and sorrow for sins. "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Psalm 30:5b). That's promised to you by Jesus, who also says, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:3). Jesus has paved the way of our salvation for us; it is now for us to live our lives accordingly.
Therefore, as the hymn tells us, "Let us ever walk with Jesus, Follow His example pure; Through a world that would deceive us And to sin our spirits lure. Onward in His footsteps treading, Pilgrims here, our home above; Full of faith and hope and love, Let us do the Father's bidding. Faithful Lord, with me abide; I shall follow where You guide."
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, give us strength to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
From "Thrown into the Arms of God," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What kinds of things are you struggling with right now?
2. How do you think you would have reacted to Jesus' words in the text above if you were one of His disciples?
3. How has God worked through the rough patches in your life? Any examples you can share?
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