And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
Father, the cost of following You is great. It’s so great that most of the time we don’t even get it. I don’t get it. It’s the complete opposite of my nature. Yet, You have given me Your Spirit and so in the depth of my soul I know Your Truth. I know the path. And I know the cost. I’ve felt it. I’ve experienced it. The longer I walk on Your path, the more I see how much the world doesn’t understand it.
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”55 But he turned and rebuked them.
You fixed Your eyes on Jerusalem, Jesus. And I, too, will keep my eyes fixed there. Because Jerusalem meant death in the eyes of the world, but it means glory to You. Jerusalem is Your Majesty revealed. It’s where Heaven and earth become one. It is Your city. It is Your Kingdom. It is the place where Your promise to the world is fulfilled.
Sometimes it becomes hard to understand that Your eyes are fixed on the prize for us when we think You don’t see our needs or our pain. Like the Samaritan village that rejected you, or the disciples who pondered which one of them was greatest, we look at You and say in our hearts, “What have you done for me?” Your disciples were ready to destroy that village! They didn’t even know that they were being hypocrites. They weren’t being like children, ready to accept Your will and Your plan without an explanation. They could only see the rejection.
A child doesn’t question your intentions toward them, or Your intentions toward anyone. They just see Your face, accept Your love, and find the peace and joy that You offer. But, Lord, it’s really hard to put reason and logic of the world behind. Living in this world hurts! From the moment of our birth we are moving toward death. Our lives become filled with obligation and work and a chorus of demands that tries to drown out Your peace.
46 An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.47 But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Lord, the one who is least among us, is the one who stops focusing on the praise of men or the world. The one whose eyes are focused on You and Your Kingdom first is the one who finds peace. So, Lord, help me to keep my face set toward Jerusalem. Your majesty is revealed there. And I will trust Your plan!
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.