The unexpected destiny of Jesus after he revealed himself to his disciples was first a cross before the crown of eternal life was bestowed on him at his resurrection.
Luke 9:18-22 (focus on 21-22)
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
We now come to the business end of Jesus career, if you will permit the earthly metaphor.
Jesus’s life purpose, as he had explained to his listeners on numerous occasions, was to seek and to save the lost. However, the way in which Jesus assumed his destiny and kingship is a way that no one could have guessed.
The disciples must have been pretty excited when Jesus initially brought them together privately, saying in effect “what I am about to tell you, you must tell no-one!” What could it be?
The next phase of their journey with Jesus was going to be incredible. They had witnessed Jesus’s meteoric rise to prominence and fame these last almost three years. They had been privy to Jesus many miracles, his amazing parables and had even gone out in his name to tell the world the good news of the new kingdom that was coming. They had even performed some of their own miracles under Jesus authority, so this next phase would surely mean the crushing of their enemies and the exultation of Jesus and his team to rule over Israel and beyond.
Imagine their surprise when Jesus prophesies that he must suffer many things, before being formally rejected by the Jewish religious leaders, and then be killed. What, that’s impossible, the Messiah cannot die! But Jesus does give them a happy ending, explaining he will rise again on the third day to life eternal. They must have been asking themselves why Jesus’s destiny has to include the cross before the crown of eternal life.
Oswald Chambers answered this question most profoundly when he said “Our Lord’s cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means he has the power to convey his life to me. Christ’s resurrection destiny – His fore-ordained purpose – was to bring many sons and daughters to glory. The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God.”
That Jesus would suffer for us to bring us into our glorious future destiny with him is something we will never stop marvelling over. And our response? As Isaac Watts rejoices “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life my all.”
Head: Think of the some of the clues Jesus gives during his earthly ministry before he tells the disciples in detail about his death and resurrection.
Heart: How do you feel about the potential suffering you may have to endure as a Christian, knowing what Jesus did for you when he died in your place on a cross?
Hands: Carve some time out of your schedule this week to spend time just being there for someone you may know going through a difficult season in their life. If possible share a little about your motivation during a tough time, knowing that Jesus has gone before you and is waiting for you to fulfil your destiny of eternal life with him.
Prayer: Lord, thank-you for bringing us into your great purposes, for inviting us to join you in your kingdom. We don’t understand why we suffer, as someone said, everyone sits next to their own pool of tears. But your ways are not our ways Lord, nor your thoughts our thoughts. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are your thoughts higher than our thoughts. In your wisdom you suffered on our behalf, took our brokenness and sin upon you, and rose again, so you could bring many sons and daughters to glory. Thank-you for the gift of your love and giving us eternal life to spend with you.
A song to listen to: When I survey the wondrous cross