May 03, 2019

Finding the Right Direction

Luke 9:51-56

The time approached for him to be taken up to heaven...

—  Luke 9:51

Looking back on Jesus’ life, his first followers could see that he was always headed toward heaven.

Though Jesus did great things in his ministry here on earth— healing the sick, giving hope to the poor and needy—he remained focused on the heavenward direction of his work. This desire to keep on moving toward his Father—for our sake and for his kingdom—led Jesus resolutely toward Jerusalem, toward the suffering and death that would pay for our sins and give us new life in his kingdom.

Unfortunately, Jesus’ followers do not always have his sense of direction. As individuals and as communities, we can be shortsighted. We respond to opposition with a desire to destroy. We refuse to dialogue with people whose politics differ from ours. We lash out at relatives and friends who upset us. We respond with fear, instead of love, to people who are different from us.

In our Bible reading for today, we are not told Jesus’ words of rebuke to his disciples. But from his life we see that God’s plan can use even seasons of struggle and opposition to point us heavenward. The cross, the tomb, and the ascension are all essential parts of Christ’s story.

Are there areas of your life that need repentance today? What attitudes need to be rebuked? Reflect today on God’s big-picture work that can lead us even through suffering and death to the hope of glory.

Lord, guide us to focus on your whole purpose of renewal instead of our own interests. Your kingdom come, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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