This section of Luke’s account of the life of Jesus and His teachings about the kingdom of God (Luke 9:51-19:28) are completely dedicated to the overarching theme that begins with Jesus setting His face towards Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) and concludes with “he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem” (Luke 19:28). This final reiteration of Jesus’ focus upon His destiny in Jerusalem introduces us to pieces of His final week in Jerusalem as He prepares to face a cross and an empty tomb.
After working through this entire section with the saints here at the St. Joseph Church of Christ I have a few observations that are powerfully transforming my conceptions of God’s kingdom and His church. Here are some of those transforming insights that, to me, are very personal and profound:
- I have found that I often identify more with the Pharisees and legal authorities of Jesus’ day than I care to admit. To be more like Jesus I want to surrender my false sense of personal righteousness.
- The kingdom is all about people; broken people; hurting people. It’s about stepping into the messiness of other fellow-sinner’s lives. It’s about telling the disenfranchised about a God who came to bring healing, hope, meaning and purpose to those who do not know where else to turn.
- Following Jesus means examining every detail of my life to make sure I’m a serial forgiver.
- Following Jesus means standing up for the hurting and helpless by confronting spiritual legalism that would shut them out or over burden them with rules and regulations that have nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Following Jesus means trusting Him simply as a child trusts his or her parent; it means relying upon God to influence my path through the active working of His Holy Spirit as it points me towards the Father and the Son; it means eschewing financial security and using what He blesses me with to make a difference in the lives of others.
- Following Jesus means living a life of repentant joy that finds freedom in the grace He extends to me over and over and over again, every hour of every day.
I may add to this list over time as I continue to reflect upon the Jesus that Luke presents in this section. I want so much to be like Jesus that it is very difficult to return to the legalistic ways I used to see my religion.
Father, forgive me for the condescending attitude of my heart that has kept me giving lip service to my brokenness before You while judging others in my heart, keeping me from seeing myself and others the way that You see us. Helpme to love You more so that I can honestly see myself and others with Your eyes, and not my own.