Do you know what you’re about? Can you summarize in a couple of sentences why you exist?
Jesus knew what His purpose was! He came to ‘save the world by dying on the cross.’ He was so totally focused on His purpose that He let nothing stop Him. In fact, He embraced and pursued His purpose in spite of the pain it would inflict on Him.
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. They were astonished, but those who followed Him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, He began to tell them the things that would happen to Him. “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him, and He will rise after three days.” (Mark 10:32-34)
I want to pursue my purpose. For the Christian, our purpose is to ‘share the gospel with every person.’ As a congregation, our stated purpose is to ‘follow and lead others to follow Christ.’
If we will embrace our purpose, know our potential, live a life that says we know what we’re about, there are three things we have to deal with, or three things we’ll have to admit.
“I am Scared!” (v. 32)
The scared disciples are following Jesus. What are they afraid of? They are afraid of Jesus. Jesus is walking ahead of them and whatever is going on in Him, they don’t know. But there is something about Him walking ahead of them that created a fear in them.
Being afraid is not a good thing. And following someone who scares you can be frightening. Lloyd Ogilvie says there are 366 ‘fear nots’ in the Bible – one for every day and even one for leap year. Why so many ‘fear nots’? I think it may be because fear is the main reason people don’t do what God asks them to do. So we need this command all the time.
Was Jesus afraid? Whether or not He was afraid, the Bible does not say. But I know this. Whether anybody kept up with Him or turned around and went back, there is one thing that we can have no doubt – God called Him to do this and He would obey, even if He must do it alone.
We should have a deeper fear than what faces us in ‘our’ Jerusalem. We should fear what would happen if we don’t go to our Jerusalem. To follow Jesus is to know that Jesus will walk with you through every valley He leads you through, but if I choose not to follow Him, you’re on our own. Don’t walk alone.
“I am Distracted” (v. 32-34)
As the followers of Jesus listened to what was going to happen to Him, they heard the gloom but missed the glory. The devil was so busy having them focus on words like “die…mock…spit…beat…whip…kill” that he robbed them of the glory of the rest of the story which was “He will rise again!” They were easily distracted by the negative.
A classic example of distraction is the story of Jesus walking on the water in a storm toward the disciples who were in the boat on Lake Galilee. Jesus called to them, “Don’t be afraid! It’s me!” Impulsive Peter says, “Well, if it’s you Lord tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come on!” Jesus called back. Peter started out of the boat. So Peter stepped out, walking on the water. And then, a wave came crashing toward Peter. For one split second he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wave. He began to sink and cried out, “Jesus, save me!” Jesus grabbed Peter’s hand and pulled him up and asked why he doubted. He was distracted by the waves and took His eyes off Jesus.
The more intently we resolve to follow Jesus, the more the devil will try to throw us off course and lose our focus. If he can take our eyes off Jesus for just one second he can wrap our minds up with fear and doubt. Don’t let anything distract you from God’s purpose in your life.
“I will Survive” (v. 34)
“After three days He will rise!” He did rise! He did survive!
Jesus may have had some fear. He may have been tempted to be distracted, lose His focus and not go to the cross. But as sure as those possibilities existed for Jesus, there was one more reality. When He was crucified and died, He was going to come to life! He would see the defeat of death and sin! He would see the salvation of God come to the hearts of anyone who would choose to accept Him and His death. He would see the defeat of Satan! That kept Him going! It kept Him motivated! It kept Him on the path to get to the cross! It kept Him focused and determined!
We may have some fear as we walk in the shadows of our purpose down our ‘unknown’ Jerusalem road. We may sometimes lose some measure of focus if we get distracted by Satan. But we can survive if we remember that Jesus Christ walks down the road beside us and ahead of us. We can turn and walk the other way – maybe run the other way. But there is no power, no purpose, no passion to walk the safe, familiar road of comfort and control.
Follow your purpose. Follow Jesus.