Intentional Progress in 2022: Life Lessons From Jesus (Part 30) – The Road to the Resurrection (Part 1)

by Rick

This morning we continue our journey into this year, focusing on making “Intentional Progress.”  I shared six steps to intentional progress with you, and I will continue to walk through them over the next few weeks.  As a reminder, here are the six steps.

Here are the steps again:

1.  Pray/Discern

2.  Plan/Prepare

3.  Wait/Discern God’s Timing

4.  Execute/Measure Progress

5.  Wait/Faith & Patience

6.  Receive When Harvest Time Comes

In this series, we have sought to glean life lessons from Jesus. We looked at John 5, 6, 8, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. Today we cross over into chapter 18. I thought and prayed about stopping at John 17 and moving on to something else. But we are just a few weeks away from Resurrection Sunday (or Easter). So I asked the Lord if I should continue to address some of the things Jesus did in preparation for His death and how those things apply to us. The Father gave me the green light. So here we go!

(Read John 18:1-10)

If any action was indeed an act of unearned and undeserved grace, it was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus willingly went to the cross for us, and He did it by grace.  

In John chapter 18, we find Jesus entering a grove of olive trees. Judas, the betrayer, knew the place well because Jesus had often gone there with His disciples. Judas led a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards (armed with blazing torches and weapons) to the grove. Jesus knew what was going to happen, so He stepped forward to meet them and asked, “Who are you looking for?” “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. Jesus said, “I AM he,” and as He said it, the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground! I guess it had not dawned on them what they were doing. They were about to arrest the Son of God. When Jesus said “I AM,” it was like the power of God was released. At that moment, the soldiers realized they were up against more than they bargained for.  

Jesus asked a second time, “Who are you looking for?” Again, the soldiers replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus responded, “I told you that I AM he, and since I am the one you want, let these others go.” The Bible says that Jesus said this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.” Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant. Peter was clearly zealous. He was operating in the flesh. Jesus knew this was not a flesh-and-blood fight.  Jesus was on assignment, and He was ready to accept His fate and to die for us by grace. So Jesus told Peter to put his sword away, and He put Malchus’ ear back on his head.  

So what does this mean for you today?  Here are some life lessons we can glean from this:

1. Jesus knew Judas and the Roman soldiers were coming for Him, and He willingly allowed Himself to be arrested. He did this as an act of undeserved grace towards you. No one could force their will on Jesus. Jesus had to allow it. He allowed it becuase it was part of His purpose. When you know there is purpose connected to the pain, there will be moments where the Holy Spirit tells you to allow the pain to happen. God can prevent and permit. There is purpose in what God permits.

2.  Jesus went into the grove of olive trees, knowing that one of His own men would betray Him.  But He did it anyway.  I will share a few nuggets about the pain connected to our purpose (in the following points), but here I want to highlight the fact that people will sometimes let you down.  Jesus picked 12 men to be on His team.  He invested in these men for three and a half years.  He loved them with unconditional love.  He poured His heart into them.  But in the end, one of the 12 betrayed Jesus.  This is a reminder that people will sometimes let you down.  Don’t get bitter.  Don’t harden your heart towards people.  Don’t let the actions of one cause you to ruin the relationship you have with others.  But just know that sometimes those closest to you may turn on you.  When it happens, it hurts.  But no one person will stop God’s show in your life.  Their poison cannot stop your purpose.  Keep looking forward.  Greater is coming for you!

3. The Roman soldiers fell to the ground as soon as they stood before Jesus. There is no way they could have arrested Jesus unless Jesus allowed it. Jesus accepted it and allowed it because He was thinking of you. Sometimes you have to think of the bigger picture. When you do, the pain of the NOW pails in comparison to the glory of the NEXT!

4. Peter cut Malchus’ ear off because he was ready for a physical fight. But Jesus put Malchus’ ear back because He understood the battle was not carnal. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit. There will be times when the Holy Spirit leads you to do something that will not make sense in the natural, but if you have spiritual discernment, you will know why God is leading you to do it.  

5. Jesus accepted the cross because it was part of His assignment. The cross was not the end of Jesus, but He needed to go through it. We could never celebrate the resurrection if Jesus refused to accept the cross. Likewise, there are some things in your life that you will not get to experience if you are not willing to endure the challenges associated with your divine assignment. If you can’t take the pain (which you can, becuase of God’s grace), you won’t enjoy the pleasure on the other side of it.

6. Pain is part of the process. There will be pain on the path to your purpose. Don’t let the pain stop you. If you are facing it, you can take it, and you will make it by the grace of God. Just keep going, keep pressing, and keep pursuing your purpose. There is a promise waiting for you on the other side of the pain.

7.  Earlier in the year, I shared this statement with you: “Vision gives pain a purpose.” Jesus went into the olive grove knowing there would be pain in the experience, but the vision He had of what was coming next, gave purpose to the pain.

— — Jesus was able to go through what He went through because He knew who He was and what He was called to do.

— Those without vision spend their lives taking the path of least resistance as they try to avoid discomfort.

— When you know who you are in Christ and you know what you are called to do, you will choose calling over comfort and purpose over pleasure.

Declaration of Faith

Father, I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die in my place.  Jesus willingly accepted His fate.  He voluntarily went to the cross for me.  No man took Jesus’ life because no man ever could.  The soldiers fell down when they realized they were standing before Jesus.  Jesus had to ALLOW them to arrest Him.  Jesus did this as an act of undeserved grace.  Jesus accepted the pain associated with the cross because He was thinking of me.  He knew there was a promise waiting for Him on the other side of the pain.  Like Jesus, I press through challenging times, knowing there are precious promises waiting for me on the other side of the pain.  The road to Jesus’ resurrection was not without pain, and the road to my purpose will not be pain-free either.  But I will not stop.  No matter what I face along the way, I will face it knowing that You have given me the grace to come out on top every time.  I am an overcomer, and I am determined to COME OVER whatever stands in my way.  Not in my strength, but in Your power.  Not because I am so good, because only because of Your grace.  Therefore, GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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