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Monday, April 2, 2012

He Went to Jerusalem With Purpose

Have you ever felt like you were in the wrong place at the wrong time? You know, when something bad happens because you made certain decisions or took a certain path you wouldn't normally take? A few years ago I received a speeding ticket -- the first one of my adult life -- for going 45 mph on a 35 mph road. The road was unfamiliar to me. I had taken it to avoid a traffic jam on the main road. That decision cost me $50 and eight hours of Defensive Driving to keep the ticket off my record. I'm sure many of you have stories of accidents or other negative events that took place simply because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One would think an innocent man who was arrested, beaten, flogged, spit on, lied about, and finally brutally murdered would feel he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesus was completely innocent of the charges made against him, and yet he was hunted down by a mob and was even betrayed by one of his friends. Knowing how much the Pharisee's and the Jewish leaders despised him, wouldn't it have been best to just lay low somewhere out in the countryside and wait until things simmered down? That's what most of us would do. 

Thankfully, Jesus isn't like most of us.

"Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 'We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!'" (Matthew 20:17-19)

Those verses make one thing crystal clear: Jesus went to Jerusalem with purpose! He knew what would happen when he entered the city. He knew who would betray him. He knew the physical torture he would endure. He knew he would die a horrific death on a cross. 

But Jesus went to Jerusalem anyway! He wasn't just in the wrong place at the wrong time! 

He wasn't surprised when Judas slunk off to betray him for thirty pieces of silver. He wasn't shocked when Peter denied him or when the other disciples were no where to be found. Jesus already knew Pilate would release Barabbas to the angry crowd, and he knew his human life would end in what has to be one of the most excruciatingly painful ways imaginable.  

Why would an innocent man do this?! Why would he put himself through an ordeal every single one of us would avoid at all costs if we could?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Jesus went to Jerusalem with Purpose. He went for you and for me. He went so we could experience life eternal and free us from the bondage of sin and death. 

That, my friend, is Amazing Grace!

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This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Ukraine, Germany, France, United Kingdom, South Africa, Indonesia, Russia, Israel, China, Slovenia

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