Pastor's Letter by Bro. Rudy
Jesus Turned Toward Jerusalem
In the 9th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus turned His face toward Jerusalem. Luke puts it this way; “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9: 51; NRSV) Earlier in the 9th chapter Jesus had reminded His disciples that He was going to be betrayed. (Luke 9:44) Knowing that He was going to be betrayed and crucified for the salvation of the world, Jesus turned His face toward Jerusalem.
We are not sure how long that journey took Jesus. But we know it was a journey of love. He turned toward Jerusalem, knowing He would be betrayed and crucified for the sins of the world. More specifically, He turned toward Jerusalem for you and me. That was the reason He had come into the world. He came to die for the sins of each and every one of us.
The season of Lent is a time to remember Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the cross. For us, the journey begins on Ash Wednesday as we remember that we came from dust and to dust we would return if it were not for Jesus’ journey to the cross. This year, Ash Wednesday is March 6th. That evening we will have our Ash Wednesday service.
In Matthew’s Gospel, it was after the first time Jesus spoke of His journey to Jerusalem and the cross that Jesus began to teach them about the cost of discipleship. Matthew records it this way; “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24; NRSV) That also is the journey of Lent. It is a time when we renew our commitment to be passionate followers of Jesus.
As we remember who Jesus is and what He did for us, Lent is a good time to reconsider what it means to really follow Him. Many of us will give up something and/or take on something to grow in our relationship with Jesus. We call these spiritual habits or spiritual disciplines. They include Worship, Bible Study, Prayer, Fasting, Serving, and Witnessing. During the Ash Wednesday Service there will be an opportunity to commit yourself to some spiritual habits to help you grow in your relationship with Christ.
As we journey with Jesus toward Jerusalem, I want to encourage you to make a list of 5 persons who are not presently active in a local church. Think about those in your “Relational Community” or “Relational Neighborhood,” as Ron Martoia calls them. Over the first 30 days of Lent, pray for them. Pray that they will be receptive to the move of God in their lives. Pray that God will lead you to an opportunity to witness to them. Pray that God will open a door through which you can invite them to our Holy Week and Easter services. Then, as we approach Holy Week, April 14-20, invite them to join you in worship.
After Christmas Eve, Holy Week/Easter is a time when people are receptive to an invitation.
See you Sunday as we worship the One who is Lord of all, Jesus Christ.