Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!
“About eight days after Jesus said this, He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem” (v 28 – 31 NIV)
How interesting it is, Lord, how You weave all sorts of things together. Here, Moses, the one in Israel’s history most connected with the Law, was part of the scene. Also, Elijah showed up, one of the most prominent of the Prophets. Earlier in Your ministry here, during a time You were teaching several people at once on a mountainside, You said about the Law and the Prophets, “Do not think that I have come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Then, in this mountaintop conversation with symbols of the Law and the Prophets, You were discussing just how You’d go about that fulfillment!
Your Law set forth through Moses and Your messages proclaimed by prophets like Elijah all converge in Your Son, Jesus. He even alluded to this at times during His teaching: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Another time, He was explaining the two greatest commandments (which actually sum up and organize the original ten under two headings) and said, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). You tied it all together by Your coming, proclaiming it in Your teaching.
From the very beginning of humanity’s time line, Father, You had been working toward the days when You’d walk on this earth that You spoke into existence. You wove together all the prophecies amidst all the laws, lives and lessons. All of it done with one motive, goal, and focus: my redemption from my sin! Thank You, Lord for making the way for me to be just like Jesus.
When I choose to follow You, Lord, You promise to be with me; yet You don’t promise an easy ride. You long for me to follow You with abandon and determination.
NO EXPECTING LUXURY
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, ‘I will follow You wherever You go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. [Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.]'” (v 57-58 NIV [MSG])
When I said “yes, I’ll follow You,” Lord, not once did I hear or read of any promises You made about it being an easy journey. “Following You” means just that, going where You go, have gone, will go, would go … and Your road was nothing close to smooth. Still, I choose to follow, because every step of the way, YOU’re with me — there’s no better place to be!
NO WASTING TIME
“He said to another man, ‘Follow Me.’ But the man replied, ‘[Certainly, but first excuse me fro a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral. Jesus refused. ‘First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!]'” (v 59-60 NIV [MSG])
Since You knew people’s true motives, Lord, and usually gave instruction related to those and not the spoken words, I could see that it’s possible that this man’s father was his excuse. You call us to immediate action when it comes to matters of Your kingdom. You called me to serve You anytime, anywhere, for however long anyhow. Let’s do it, Lord! Here’s my hand; You lead the way.
NO LOOKING BACK
“Then another said, ‘I’m ready to follow You, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.’ Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. NO backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.'” (v 61-62 MSG)
You want my eyes fixed on You as we travel this road together. When my eyes wander, it can become easy to doubt the path, to become discontent with the direction, the means, the pace, and so on. My imagination can conjure up fears and fantasies. No wonder You call for wholehearted commitment and disciplined focus. YOU are the Way — there is no other. Keep my mind on You, Lord, as You make me just like Jesus. Amen.