Journey to the Cross: Part One – The Geography of Grace – Luke 9:51-56
Jesus’ Journey to the Cross – and Ours
Loosing Myself to Find My Real Self: Luke 9:23-25
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
The first two commands are necessary to get me out of the way so that I can do the third – follow Jesus.
The Geography of Grace
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)KJV “He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.”
- God will not put up with human violence and rebellion forever; that’s a guarantee. God promises he will one day end all evil.
“I say – the only means of prohibiting violence by us is to insist that violence is only legitimate when it comes from God…[I]f God were NOT angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end of violence, that God would not be worthy of our worship.” – Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace
Jesus demonstrates the patience and goodness of God. Though God has the right to judge all our sin right now, Jesus is going to Jerusalem. Why? So that through Jesus’ work on the cross, and his resurrection, God can one day end all evil and not end us (see 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).
- Jesus “set his face on Jerusalem” (one place) in order for the whole world to know his love (every place).
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
– Acts 1:8
- For those who have been hurt: recognize, Jesus died to deal with my sin – that gives me not only a model to follow, but the humility to actually do it.
- For those of scared of being rejected by others because we have identified with Jesus: recognize we are loved and accepted by Jesus so that even though I may face rejection from my peers, and even though it might hurt, it doesn’t have to be devastating.
- For those who feel very uncomfortable seeking to care deeply for people who are very different from us, we have Jesus’ command – to the ends of the earth, to every people group – and we have the Holy Spirit’s power, to fuel our love for communities who may make us feel uncomfortable (Acts 1:8).
Journey to the Cross: Part One – Life Group Study – Luke 9:51-56
Have you ever set a very firm goal? What was it, and how did you manage to stay focused on it?
- Read Luke 9:51-56. Jesus is said to “resolutely set out for Jerusalem”, or as the KJV translates: “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” The disciples have a very narrow view of Jesus’ mission at this point, thinking him to be leading a military uprising, and viewing the Samaritans as ‘enemies’. How might we today be in danger of having a narrow view of Jesus’ intended ‘reach’ in mission? How might that ever-so subtly work out in our practice – in the sorts of people we associate with (or don’t!)?
- How does the text of Acts 1:8 enable us to re-train our ‘focus’? What about that text encourages or challenges you? (Pastor Dave suggested that Jesus focus on Jerusalem – on his work on the cross – ends with him sending us with our ‘faces set on the rest of the world.’).
- From our perspective in current Canadian, the violent judgment proposed by the disciples likely seems utterly out of place. Yet we need to recognize that the disciples expected Jesus’ role as God’s Messiah to be one of a mighty military leader – one who does violence to their enemies. Jesus, however, rebukes his disciples for responding as Elijah once did to Samarian opposition (2 Kings 1). How does Jesus’ non-retaliation example encourage or challenge you?
- In the “Our Response” section of his message (see the other side of the page) Pastor Dave points to Jesus’ work on the cross as the means of enabling us to have a renewed ability to live as disciples of Jesus. Which of those three speaks most deeply to you? How might you let the message of Jesus’ work on the cross for you change you during this next month? How can your Life Group keep you accountable to this?
Prayer: As a group, pray that God would reawaken our hearts to the beauty of Jesus’ grace during this next month as we move towards Easter. Pray for those in your work places, school, or neighbourhood who are in need of this good news. Ask God for opportunities to share love in practical and bold ways, and for opportunity to share the message of hope that Jesus gives.