If you were living in the days Jesus walked the earth, would you have taken part in crucifying
Him? Probably not right? Well, the truth is you and I did take part in his death though not the literal crucifixion. For it’s our sin that led Him to give up His life for us. He came to give up His life by choice for us and then sinful men chose to nail him to a cross.
SELAH…Jesus death was predetermined even before God said, “Let there be…” (i.e. Creation) however He did not choose the way it’ll come about. He did not choose to be nailed to a cross…that was a decision made by men at that time in history. Meditate on this in context with Matt 18:7-9…. and comment.
Luke Chapter 11 gave us the accounts of the time when Jesus was doing what He’d always done wherever He went; teaching about the Kingdom of God and demonstrating it by healing and performing miracles. And like many other times, the Pharisees were there questioning his messages and accusing Him of his good works. However in this instance Jesus went really “hardcore” on them exposing their evil hearts with woes and warnings.
In verse 48, which is also recorded in Matthew 23:29-36, the Pharisees have developed the habits of decorating the tombs of the Old Testament prophets probably to clear their consciences of being the children of their ancestors who killed many of the prophets God sent to them. In verse 30 of Matthew 23, Jesus reiterate what they commonly say to themselves as they perform these rituals. ‘…..If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
WOW!!!….they were so sure of this that they actually pay respect to the prophets of old by decorating their tombs and probably confessing the sins on behalf of their ancestors. Why? Because their ancestors did very horrible things, they would never have done if they were in their shoes. But as you already know they ended up killing “The Prophet” of whom all the prophets of old prophesied about.
So why did they have him crucify? The same reason that led to the leaders of Jesus’ days handling Him over to be crucified is the same reason that some people of today will rather hold to the believe that we (humans) originated from a “monkey that got lucky”; It’s the same reason that some people have shipwrecked their faith in Him; It’s the same reason that some believers are offended and disappointed with God and are very reluctant to trust Him, and it will be the same reason why some believers will lose their faith in the coming days as foretold by Jesus and the apostles.
Isn’t it interesting that the Pharisees and the Teachers of the law did the very thing they confessed they’ll never do. They literally said they’ll never kill a prophet of the Lord. Jesus’ teachings and actions were so obvious that even the common people of His days admitted that if He’s nothing at all, He definitely must be a prophet. Well, maybe the Pharisees reasoned themselves out of the simple and obvious truth because of their rigid study of the law void of intimacy with the Person who gave them the law. The reason the Pharisees had Jesus killed was because of their failure to understand and submit to the ways of the Lord, or what I termed as “the way of the Kingdom“. The way of the kingdom are the ways of the Lord. There’s no Kingdom without a King. For a Kingdom is the realm (domain) in which a King reigns.
Psalm 25:10 NIV “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant“.
All the ways of the Lord are meant for just one thing; YOU; or more precisely Your Heart (i. e. The core of your being).
Some people still ask one of the age-old questions of life; Why are there evil in this world or why does God allow suffering? I usually start by answering those questions saying “the reason bad things happens or why there is suffering in this world is because of YOU (humanity)”.
The Heart of man is at the heart of the problems in the world and God’s answer is taking His way to the Heart of the problem; You & Me.
Think about it. God’s answer to suffering and pain in the world was to send His son to go through one of the most excruciating pain and suffering, all to make it possible for YOU & I to become like His son, JESUS. He didn’t die on the cross so that we can just have our so call sinful and bad behaviors taken away and forgiven. He died and resurrected in exchange for all our Heart (i.e. the ugly, the bad and even what we think is so good about us.)
His work is to change our heart (The core of who we are) such as your motives, thoughts, speech, behaviours, etc, to conform to His ways. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours but He’s inviting us to think like He thinks and walk like He walks, i.e. to be like Him. But to do this we have to be willing to let go of ours ways which are contrary to His and seek to really know Him as He is.
And there lies the issue. Because people being people, we are not always willing to have our ways or the things we hold dear to our heart changed. This even sometimes applies to us believers who claims to know and follow Him. Remember, it was the very people who claimed to know God, who had Jesus killed because they will not let go of their own ways of following God. Their way was so dear to their heart and they are not going to allow anyone to tell them otherwise, let alone an unschooled carpenter from Nazareth to tell them to forsake their ways. They claimed to have known where Jesus was born and lived but if they truly wanted to know they would have sought out the truth and found out that He was actually born in Bethlehem just as the scriptures they’ve memorized since childhood foretold that He would be born. A gentile doctor, Luke did a thorough investigation and found out detailed account about Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.
Seeking God is one of the many Godly/Kingdom principles in which I’ve termed the way of the Kingdom.
#The way of Seeking & Finding. Jesus promised us that those who seek Him will find Him. He’s not asking us to seek Him in vain. If He’s requiring us to seek for something, then it only means that He wants to reveal them to us. If it were truly His intention to hide Himself or His ways from us, then non of us would ever know Him. He’ll never ask us to do something He knows we cannot do. Of course, what He’ll require of us will always be impossible to do in our own strength. But with it comes another way of the Kingdom:
#The way of Grace with Commands. His Grace and rewards or blessings are in His commands. The fact that He’s asked/commanded you to do/be something in itself proves that you have what it takes to do it. If He asked you to do some things, He’ll also give you the grace to achieve them and then bless or reward you for them.
However, it’s those who have submitted their ways or at least truly desire to, who will seek him diligently. Dr Luke, Paul, The Bereans, and many others all forsook their own which left them hungry and thirsty for righteousness (His ways) and therefore they sought out the way of the Lord more diligently and they found them.
The Pharisees however were filled with their own junk (ways) and therefore didn’t have the appetite for anything. So when God came in the flesh offering them the right way to Himself, they didn’t recognise Him but resisted Him and ended up crucifying Him. Since God’s higher way always takes over every other ways, they had to get rid of Him. Why? Because people not willing to let go of their own will do anything to protect or hold on to what they have.
The ways of the Lord are definitely not an easy way to walk on. This is mainly because its contrary to the ways of this world in which we are born into. His way is the narrow road and therefore only a few even desire to journey on it. The road in fact is narrow but it does not have to seem narrow to us. You can walk this road as if it’s the broadest road. To do that is to recognise another one of the His Kingdom principles:
#The way of Beholding & Becoming. THIS IS THE KEY TO ALL HIS WAYS. It works by setting your gaze off of how narrow the road is and gazing/beholding the person at the end of the road. The longer you gaze on Him the easier it’ll be for you to walk on the road. Because you’ll grow to become more like Him and the more you’re like Him, the bigger the boundary lines will seem to have enlarged even though in reality it hasn’t changed at all.
The more you grow to become like Him the more you’ll see the way He sees things including the narrow road. You’ll become like David who said in Psalm 16:6 “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;……Why? vs 8 “…I keep my eyes always on the Lord . With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
How about you? Are there areas in your life that resist the way of the Lord? Are you even aware of it? If Jesus were to come in the flesh would you recognised Him or would you resist Him because He wouldn’t match the Jesus you’ve created. I pray that we’ll all grow to know Him as He really is and learn to submit to His ways even when it doesnt seems logical to our human thinking or culture.
Well, there you have it, the way of the Lord is His ways to the Heart of men. His way of changing our Heart to be like His and so doing reversing the heart of the world problems, thus bringing His Kingdom here on earth.
CONTINUE with The Way of Suffering