The Necessary Conflicts in Life: We Draw Strength from Luke 9:51

Posted: February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Luke 9:51 — Have you ever had a task ahead of you that just made you sick to your stomach to have to do it? Maybe, you have had to have a confrontation with a family member or friend that had to happen. It was a conflict that was inevitable. Maybe you have had a co-worker that you had to have a meeting with and you knew going in that it was going to be an ambush but you had to go the meeting anyway and defend yourself. I am a person that usually when given the opportunity to avoid conflict, I will do it. Sometimes, even if it is to my own detriment, I will avoid conflict whenever possible. I have had two incidents recently, one in my secular job, and one in my church life where I had previously been avoiding conflict. I kept hoping that the situations would simply resolve themselves. Sometimes though, this just doesn’t happen. The issue remains. The issue must be dealt with.

As a parent, have you watched you child slide into or slide back into a situation that you just know is going to end badly for them and you just hope that they will open their eyes. When they don’t, you know that you are going to have to have a confrontation with them that may hurt their feelings, may make them angry at you, but all the while you know that you have to say what you are going to say. They may not see it now but only down the road when your words turn out to be true. We hate these parent-child conflicts. We try to avoid them. You know what’s best for them so you have that conversation that you dread having. You do have the conversation that needs having even though you know that it may cause a temporary problem between parent and child.

Sometimes, as leaders, we must deal with distasteful situations and push through them even when those around us tell us not to and we are ourselves are not really wanting to have to deal with conflict. Sometimes, it is just unavoidable. Sometimes, we have to be steadfast and do what is right and stand up for what is right or call out that which is wrong. This steadfastness is something I think we see in this single verse that we look at today.

Luke 9:51 tell us, “As the time drew near for Him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Here, we see Jesus not just heading to Jerusalem. He is resolutely headed there. Jesus, being God in the flesh, knew what awaited Him there. As Bo Dunford says in his sermon, “Steadfastness”, Jesus was “from the very beginning controlled by a master purpose. At the age of 12, he told Mary and Joseph, ‘don’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house.'” Jesus knew His purpose on earth was a very singular one. He was to be the sacrifice for sin. He was to be crucified and die on the cross as the once and final sacrifice for our sins so that we could once and for all be reconciled to God. This was His purpose and nothing was going to deter Him from meeting God’s purpose for His earthly existence. Jesus was not going to Jerusalem for a sightseeing tour. He was going for a specific reason. Nothing was going to deter Him from His mission. Sure, Jesus being 100% human (as well as being 100% divine) knew of physical pain in His life. I am sure that He may have had cuts and bruises and falls as a child just like any of us. He was familiar with human pain. He knew and most likely had seen Roman crucifixions in his lifetime. He knew all to well, I bet, about the known excruciating pain of crucifixion. Jesus knew that this type of death was what He has going to face in Jerusalem. He knew that the conflict was coming. He knew that He would be in for it in Jerusalem. An ambush awaited Him there. He forged ahead anyway. He had a higher purpose in what was about to happen. He knew that it was going to be ugly and painful but He knew the conflict had to happen. He forged ahead anyway because He knew what was best for mankind. He forged ahead because He loved us. He forged ahead even though He knew that He would suffer mighty physical human pain. It was a temporary problem on the way to what is best for us, His children.

This single verse reminds us that we will have moments in life where we must forge ahead. There are moments in life when we just want give up. There are moments in life where the task seems to hard. We want to avoid the conflict and just give up and get run over by situations. As well, we may just want to give up because this serving the Lord thing is too hard (I have to give up too much to do it, it’s too hard not to take the easy way out). It is easier to accomodate, to compromise our principle, easier to take a shortcut. It would have been easier for Paul to have remained a Pharisee. It would have been easier for Peter to remain a fisherman. It would have been easier for Martin Luther King not to preach against racial inequality. It would have been easier for Ghandi not to have protesting against oppressive British rule. It would have been easier for Chinese students not to stand up against the government in Tienamin Square. It would have been most assuredly easier for Jesus to stay away from Jerusalem. Sometimes it is easier to choose to take the quiet road but Jesus walked toward the cross and not away from it. Jesus took on the hard battles. He never wavered in accomplishing God’s purpose. He never wavered in bringing glory to His heavenly Father. He never wavered in being consistent with Scripture. He never wavered in fighting the fights that needed fighting. He never wavered in His love for us no matter what physical human pain it was going to cause Him.

May we all draw strength from this single verse. Jesus resolutely forged ahead even though He knew it was going to cost Him dearly in physical pain. When we feel like giving up, think of Jesus forging ahead with His Father’s plan. When you want to avoid having those tough conversations that need to be had, think of Jesus forging ahead with His Father’s plan even though He knew that it would cause Him temporary pain. When you question whether this being a Christ follower thing is too tough, think of Jesus forging ahead knowing what awaited Him. When you question whether following God’s call on your life is too tough to handle because of the sacrifices that you will have to make, think of Jesus forging ahead with His journey to Jerusalem knowing full well that pretty much everyone was going to abandon Him. The purpose of it all was the most important thing. Without Jesus going to Jerusalem, we would not have the cross. Without the cross, we would still be lost. Sometimes, we must forge ahead thinking of the long range good even though there will be temporary sacrifices that have to be made, even though there will be temporary pain. Think of Jesus forging ahead to Jerusalem knowing that some 2,000 years later that you and I would call on His name because of His going to Jerusalem.

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