Looking ahead to this new year, I found much to pray about as I read through Matthew 27 these past few weeks...particularly as to how I personally respond to Jesus, who is: the King of the Jews, the Savior sent for mankind from the Father, and the Lord of earth and heaven. The nagging question I felt coming back to me time and time again as I read the account of Jesus' crucifixion was, "Could it be that life leads me to make the same choices as those who turned their backs on Him over 2000 years ago?" Sorrowfully, I have to answer yes.
Reading through this chapter, I compiled a list of actions taken against Jesus by those who knew Him while He walked on the earth:
A list that unfortunately does not even encompass the great many sins committed against Jesus on a daily basis by those who even love Him most, His followers. Sure, saying that we are a sinful people, in need of help from our natural condition, is at least a confirmation of heart that we are unable to save ourselves. But, it seems that these verses point to an even greater road for the followers of Christ to take...one that Matthew shares with us as Jesus' parting words to His disciples at the end of chapter 28.
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28: 18 - 20
Living as a disciple of Christ does not just mean that I come to Him for forgiveness, mercy, and grace because I accept that sin has its hold on my natural condition and on this world. But in living for Jesus it also means that through my forgiven state I allow that freedom to push me upward towards a nature that I cannot explain, one that is fully controlled by the Holy Spirit, one that allows me to point others to the God I love, and to share the light of Jesus despite the darkness that dwells around me and is always vying for my attention.
I know there are a lot of resolutions made this time of the year, but as followers of Jesus we are commanded by our Lord to make one thing resolute in our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies...and that is to proclaim Him and His truth until He comes again. Will you join me in resolving to make that your number one purpose this year also?
We don't know when Jesus will return here to earth, but in allowing His purposes and plans to lead us each day, I know it reduces the chances that I will turn my back on Him, do injustice to His name, or live for my own selfish desires. And that is the struggle against sin we all face every day isn't it?
To live for Christ in 2014 means to shine His light, despite the encroaching darkness, and proclaim His truth wherever the road may lead...eventually leading us all home, to heaven, where the struggle against our sinful natures will finally end.
Can I get an Amen to that?