Jesus & Mugsy Bogues: Two Really Determined Guys and What They Teach Us

Posted: March 19, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke
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Luke 13:31-35 — Let us spend a few days here. There are two parts to this passage that we need to look at. Today, let’s look once again as we did a couple of days ago at the relentless march of Jesus toward Jerusalem.

The illustration that comes to mind today for vv. 31-33 is Mugsy Bogues. I don’t know if some of you remember him or not. He was one of the greatest basketball players ever to play at Wake Forest University and in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The thing was is that Mugsy was only 5’4” or 5’5″ tall or something like that. Very short for today’s basketball world. He was always short. All through life, he was told what he couldn’t do. He never let it deter him. The detractors just made him work that much harder on his game. Never play high school ball they said. He did. Never get picked up by a college. He did. At Wake Forest he became a star and may go down as one of the best players in ACC history. His number 14 hangs from the rafters at WFU’s coliseum never to be worn again. He then went on to play 14 seasons in the NBA most of it as a member of the Charlotte Hornets. Too short. Can’t make it. Muggsy never let detractors get in the way of getting to his goal. He had that Muggsy determination.

The Pharisees were trying there best to get Jesus not to go to Jerusalem. It was not because they wanted to protect Jesus from danger. They didn’t want Him in Jerusalem because they knew Jesus would cause a stir in Jerusalem and upset the order that they had established and the tenuous peace that they maintained with the Roman occupiers. Jesus knew their hearts and what they meant. He told them that He would be undeterred. Nothing would get in His way of getting to Jerusalem. He was determined to get there. What does my illustration and this passage teach us then?

Jesus had a greater goal in mind than just avoiding persecution or worrying whether He was in physical danger or political danger. His plan was far greater than that. It had been God’s plan for Him all along to die on the cross in Jerusalem as the final, once-and-for-all sacrifice for sin. It was God’s plan from the moment the first sin was committed in the Garden that Jesus would be here in Palestine in this moment in time to execute the plan that He had given Jesus. Nothing would deter Him from His goal. It was a far greater goal that this mere moment in time. This was a moment for all time. What if Jesus had been like we are sometimes? We sometimes give up on our goals because of something bad happening along the way. We often give up on our goals before we even start because our detractors say we can’t do it. Not you! You can’t do that! We often give up on our goals because of bad advice like the Pharisees are trying to give Jesus here. But Jesus would have none of it. He would continue his daily ministry in the streets of Israel all the way to the capitol city. He would enter Jerusalem and would speak truth that would get Him killed. On the cross as He breathes his last breath only then does He stop. It is then that He says, “It is finished.” What He came to do was completed. It had been accomplished. He died as sin to conquer it once and for all. He rose from the dead to claim victory over it. This was the goal. Nothing got in the way of that. It was planned and carried out undeterred.

So if you have a dream of serving the Lord in some way. Don’t be discouraged if it is not happening as fast as you want. Don’t be discouraged by the advice of others saying that you should give up on it.

Don’t be discouraged by Satan who shouts loudly at these times — you serve the Lord? what have you got to offer? You’re not good enough. You might be a pretty good writer but your not a great speaker. Besides I know your weaknesses and I will exploit them if you try to serve the Lord. Besides you’ll never make it. You’ll never stick with it. You’re a quitter and always have been. You’re a dreamer but you lack the fortitude to make your dreams come true. Satan wants you to give in and give up. That way you will be ineffective. Satan loves ineffective!

Take heart from Jesus Himself. He knew what lay ahead of Him at the cross. He was not a big fan of the physical pain as noted in his prayer in Gethsemane. He was getting advice from others not to go to Jerusalem. However, Jesus kept on pressing toward His goal. He had the bigger picture in mind. The overall vision of what His life’s purpose was drove him through the obstacles. The vision overcame doubt, bad advice, and physical pain. The vision kept Him going during those long hours He hung on the cross.

If Mugsy Bogues can have a 14 year career in the NBA on sheer determination to be the best…you can realize your dream of serving the Lord too. Jesus gave the mission for His life everything He had. He let nothing deter Him. You can serve the Lord too no matter the obstacles. No matter the time table. Keep holding onto the dream. Keep your eyes focused on Jerusalem. Keep pressing toward it. Keep believing in the vision for your life. Keep God’s call alive even when it seems like you can’t get to the dream. He will make a way as long as you keep pressing toward the dream.

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