Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 29, 2018
By Tripp Prince
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” John 18:33 (NIV)
This week, Christians find themselves drawn into the story of Holy Week, journeying with Jesus from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to the intimacy of the upper room, to the horror and shame of the cross, and ultimately to the victory of the empty tomb. In this journey the Lord enters into the chaos and brokenness of this world and speaks order and life. He hears the cries of his people and responds with perfect love and compassion.
In this journey, Jesus turns the values of this world upon their head, showing us in the process the true nature of his rule and reign. Jesus isn’t a king who conquers by force or military might. He instead conquers through humility, self-denial, and love. This is a kind of conquering that the world has never known! This isn’t how earthly kings are meant to rule and reign. They reign by might and brute force. Yet Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
Jesus’ suffering and journey to the cross was not an accident, nor was he overpowered against his will. No, Jesus’ self-sacrifice is fundamental to the character of God and the nature of His Kingdom. And here’s why this is so important for us: our Christian journey is an invitation to follow Jesus in the way of Jesus!
We don’t follow Jesus by saying “I’m so glad Jesus was humble so now I can be prideful” or “I’m so glad Jesus endured suffering with great joy so now I can live a carefree and indulgent life and take by force whatever I want.” That would be ridiculous! Yet sometimes, we seem to forget the way in which the cross shapes and defines the nature of this journey we’re on.
Our journey of following Christ is primarily shaped and influenced by Jesus’ own journey, a journey that led him to the cross.
Christian discipleship is a journey in Jesus’ footsteps to the cross. And so, this cruciform life, this cross-shaped life, is not simply a journey down the “yellow brick road.” It is a journey shaped and marked by the cross! Let us rejoice today in the reign and rule of Jesus as the true king of heaven and earth, and may we with courage and faith choose to follow in his footsteps.
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).
PrayerFather, thank you for the perfect love shown to us in Jesus. May we join him in the way of the cross, trusting that it is the only way to life, peace, and joy. Amen.
ApplicationHow does the upside down nature of Jesus’ rule and reign reshape your own journey and give you courage to walk through hard seasons of life?
Related ReadingIsaiah 53:3-12; John 1:10; 1 Corinthians 2:8
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