Lambasted by gossip, slander, doubt and hate, what did Jesus do? Did he pack it in, saying, “You’re right. I am just a simple carpenter. My journey, my mission ends here”? Did he throw in the towel and say, “I can’t do it! I can’t go to Jerusalem to be killed. I can’t take this journey to the cross. I can’t face that kind of death. I can’t go toe-to-toe with Satan for ten rounds. No one will believe I’m the Savior, anyway. I quit!”?
Of course, our Lord Jesus did nothing of the sort. Jesus did exactly the opposite. He spoke a word of peace saying, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown” (Mark 6:4). Then he quietly healed a few sick people and left the region, moving steadily onward on his journey, moving purposefully to accomplish his mission to save us.
Jesus did not cower in terror as he thought of the cross. He did not hesitate, wondering whether or not he should die to restore a sin-spoiled creation. Jesus did not flag, flinch or falter. Why? His persistence grew from his unwavering love for us. He followed his course, taking step after steady step, committed to you! Committed to earn forgiveness for you! Committed to win for you eternal life!
As we began, we talked about several famous journeys, several heroic travelers. Which of those best reflects your own personal journey through life?
- Is your journey like that of Apollo 11—right on course and coming together as planned? Are things landing where you had hoped? Are you on track to declare “Mission Accomplished!” in the years ahead?
- Or is your journey through life like the trek of Lewis and Clark from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean? Are you climbing steep, mountainous problems? Are you crossing the treacherous tributaries of events that threaten at any moment to sweep you off your feet?
- Or are you more like Christopher Columbus, thinking you’re on your way to India and ending up far, far short of your goal? Are you slowly realizing that the places where you had hoped to land are no longer anywhere on your horizon?
Like all journeys, your journey through life requires persistence, more persistence than you can muster—more persistence than anyone can muster. The weight of sin, like an anchor, threatens to drag you down. The winds of temptation try to blow you off course. Regret and guilt, bitterness and anger litter your path like icebergs. Health problems loom large and cast frightening shadows, darkening your future. Financial concerns sit heavy on your heart and mind. Stress and struggle, suffering and sadness gnaw away at your strength. And death is ever-near, well able to crush every voyager, to disrupt every voyage.
Who can persist in the face of all that? Who can persevere? Who can “Keep calm and arry on,” as they say?
Here’s the good news: Though you lack persistence, Christ Jesus abounds in it. He persevered in his journey, all the way to the cross. Jesus is your steady, constant, totally reliable friend. Jesus is not shaken or thrown off course by anything—not even by your sins and shortcomings. He has paid for your guilt, dying in your place on the cross. Jesus overcame the suffering of the cross, and he triumphed over the death that sent him to his tomb. Jesus dealt with despair and death—and won!
Jesus Christ is the same victorious Savior yesterday, today, and forever. And he is with you! His victory is your victory. His eternal life is now your eternal life, purely by his grace! It’s his gift to you.
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Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.