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Lent - Day 5

Day 5  Thursday


That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1: 3).


Mark 8: 27-38
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. 
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
And he called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”


This week, we have been setting the stage for the drama of Passion Week. We have already met the “invisible” yet central characters of the Father and the sinful human heart. We have considered the heart of mission that beat through Jesus and the reality of the spiritual Enemy he faced. 
Today we consider how Passion Week did not just happen to an unaware and surprised Jesus. He anticipated the crisis. In fact, he sought out this final conflict and brought it all to a head according to his own timing at Passover.
Let’s follow the plot line. 
Jesus lived to please his Father and to enact his mission to save the world.
As he ministered, however, he was aware that the opposition toward him would grow and that this was part of his Father’s plan.
Jesus told his disciples long before it happened that the religious leaders would reject him. He would be sentenced to death, but this would not be a final defeat, for he would rise in victory three days later.  
Jesus knew that Jerusalem was the Holy City, the nation’s capital, the site of the Temple in which the LORD’s presence resided. There the resistance to the Kingdom Jesus inaugurated would be most severe.
Even Thomas knew that going to Jerusalem meant escalating the conflict to a fatal level: “Let us also go [to Jerusalem], that we may die with him” (John 11: 16).
Still, Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem (Luke 9: 51).
How is your understanding of Passion Week affected by knowing that Jesus predicted what would happen?
Could you name three qualities of character required of Jesus to enter Jerusalem fully aware of the outcome?
Could you describe a time when life looked like the opposition was writing the script but then you discovered that God held the “pen” all along?


Once again, let’s step into the character of Jesus by taking words he prayed on our lips. Pray aloud this prayer of Jesus several times. Step into Jesus’ awareness of what awaited him and his understanding of why he had to go on:
Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name. . . . Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. He said this to show by what kind of death he would die (John 12: 27-33).
And add your own prayers,
Father, I know that difficult passages await me. I will experience sudden reversals. Acute pain. Poignant losses. Betrayals and rejections. Agonizing defeats. We cannot avoid passing through the valley of the shadow of death. You do not save your children from these hours. But you do save us in the midst of such times and you carry us through. 
Before I get surprised again by reversal, I want to set my heart. Father, glorify your name through me. Draw others to yourself even when, especially when, I am lifted up in suffering. Allow me to say with Jesus, whatever befalls, ‘For this purpose I have come to this hour.’ That you might be seen in me. 
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20: 31).



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