“As we behold the One Who first took up His cross for us we gain the passion needed to take up our cross for Him.”
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)
Jesus gives the invitation to take up our cross to more people, in more contexts than any other invitation into the Kingdom. (Matthew 10:38; Mark 10:21; Luke 9:23,24; Luke 14:27)
Where do we find the strength to respond to Jesus’ call? Where do we find the power to endure the real suffering and death that’s connected to this journey into wholehearted love for Jesus?
We find power to endure the difficulty of our cross by taking the time to listen to the One Who first bore His cross for us. This is called doing the ONE THING. In Luke 10:42 Jesus declared that Mary of Bethany, who sat at His feet and listened to the Words of her Lord, was engaging in the ONE THING that was necessary for the human spirit to thrive in our relationship with God. He also declared that it was the ONE THING that could not be taken away. It was an experience that the enemy of her soul could not rob from her. It’s as we do the ONE THING of Mary of Bethany that we find the grace to obey the ONE THING that Jesus asked of the rich, young ruler in Mark 10:21 – Take up your cross and follow Me. And this is the way for all followers of Christ. We must cease from our anxious, self-driven, on-the-run lifestyles to behold Who Jesus is, and what His affections are for us. As we see His beauty and the majesty of His ways we gain the courage to remain faithful to Him through our hardships, and accumulate the passion that’s necessary to honor Him – even through our trials.
In John 17 we see Jesus praying to His Father just before His own death on the cross. Truth-be-told, what’s recorded in this chapter is as much about Jesus praying for our strength to take up our cross, as it is about Him taking up His cross. As you read these words, insert your own name in the blanks and imagine you’re listening to Him as He is praying for you in the garden of Gethsemane.
What strength enters your soul as you listen to Jesus pray these words for you?
WATCHING & PRAYING WITH JESUS from JOHN 17
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
01 And this is eternal life, that ______ may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
02 I have manifested Your name to ________ whom You have given Me out of the world.
__________ is Yours, You gave _______ to Me, and ________ has kept Your word.
03 Now ________ has known that all things which You have given Me are from You.
04 I have given to _________ the words which You have given Me; and she/he has received them, and has known surely that I came forth from You.
05 _________ has believed that You sent Me.
06 I pray for ________.
07 I do not pray for the world but for _________ whom You have given Me.
08 _________ is Yours, and ________ is Mine, and I am glorified in ________.
09 Now I am no longer in the world, but ________ is in the world, and I come to You.
10 Holy Father, keep through Your name ________ whom You have given Me.
11 I pray that __________ may be one as We are.
12 While I was with my disciples in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You give Me I keep; and none of them was lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that ________ may have My joy fulfilled in her/him.
13 I have given _______ Your word; and the world has hated ______ because she/he is not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
14 I do not pray that You should take ____ out of the world, but that You should keep ____ from the evil one.
15 _______ is not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
16 Sanctify _______ by Your truth. Your word is truth.
17 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent _______ into the world.
18 For her/his sake I sanctify Myself, that _______ also may be sanctified by the truth.
19 I do not pray for _______ alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through _______ word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
20 And the glory which You gave Me I have given _______, that ______ may be one just as We are one: I in ______, and You in Me; that _______ (and those who follow with her/him) may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them (all) as You have loved Me.
21 Father, I desire that ________ whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that _______ may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
22 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and _________ has known that You sent Me.
23 And I have declared to her/him Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in _________, and I in her/him.”
JSB • April, 2019
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