Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
… and on the third day be raised. (Luke 9:22)
Have you ever received a party invitation with only vague information about the location? You have the date and time and even the reason for the party, but you aren’t sure how to get there. That’s probably how the apostles felt when Jesus first called them. All he said was, “Follow me.” But in today’s passage, Jesus gives the destination as well: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24).
Don’t you sometimes feel like the disciples when Jesus first called them, focusing mostly on the call to deny yourself and losing sight of the goal? That’s usually not a great motivator. When we “give up” something for Lent, it’s supposed to be so that we can make more room for Jesus, not just make our lives more challenging! It’s only as we keep our eyes on the goal that we get a more hopeful, inspiring perspective.
So what is the goal? For the disciples, it was the hope of the resurrection. It was the promise that those who follow Jesus will be raised to new life—not just in some far-off heaven but right here, right now. It was the promise of freedom from the burdens of guilt and sin. It was the promise of an ever deepening experience of God’s love and power in their lives. It was the promise of belonging to a community of believers who treat one another with the love and mercy of God.
These promises apply to us just as much as they did to Peter, John, Martha, and all of Jesus’ original followers. Jesus is inviting us to follow him along the road to discipleship this Lent. He is asking us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses, not because he wants to make our lives miserable but because he wants to set us free.
So what are you focusing on? The sacrifices you have decided to make? Or the destination you hope to reach on Easter Sunday? Take a look at your Lenten resolutions today, and ask yourself where they are leading you. If the goal is not too clear, think about readjusting them. Let Jesus set you free this Lent so that you can rejoice with him on Easter!
“Thank you, Lord, for the promise of the resurrection!”~WAU