We live in a country that is characterized by comfort. We demand to have comfortable beds, comfortable cars, comfortable incomes, and (dare I say it) comfortable churches. Indeed, most of our time, money, and energy are spent striving toward making life easier. Yet if we dream of following the man who walked the dangerous road to the cross, our lives cannot be branded with mere ease and luxury.
In today’s passage, Jesus clearly says the way is marked with suffering, though we, just like the disciples, make every effort to evade this beautiful and powerful truth.
- What are the areas of your life where you seek comfort or demand to be comfortable?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 18:31-34 (ESV)
31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Notice verse 31. To whom was Jesus speaking?
- What did Jesus say would happen (vss. 32-33), and what would this accomplish?
- Verse 34 does not mean the disciples were confused by Jesus’ literal words. Rather, the suffering and subsequent death of the Messiah puzzled them, as they envisioned the Messiah reigning comfortably as king. However, Jesus knew the journey toward the empty tomb involved the cross. In what ways do you attempt to run from or numb the pain of life, thereby missing out on the greater purpose in God’s grand storyline?
RESPOND TO GOD
Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.” Nietzsche may not have known Jesus, but he understood that our painful lives hold the most redemptive power when we grasp the purpose in our suffering. Jesus’ suffering brought life and reconciliation; he invites us to acknowledge and believe this, and to enter into his life and way of living.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you demand comfort rather than holiness.
- Thank God for the difficult chapters of your story. Look for the redemptive arcs coming out of each moment of pain, and reflect on how these uncomfortable times have conditioned you to be more like Jesus.