It is officially Easter week. We have Liberty to cherish each other and enjoy Freedom. Everyone is busy making their plans to be in church with family or getting together for BBQ’s, egg hunts and the like. It’s a hurry-scurry world and when holidays bump up against our regular routines. It can be hard to navigate all that is being asked of us. People live their lives with varying degrees of stress. Stress seems to rise and fall as events on the calendar come along. Perhaps It’s one thing to look forward to some great family event or great gathering with friends, but it is entirely another thing to move forward towards a time with feelings of dread.
As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem and the crowds reigned down shouts of praise and admiration, Jesus knew that in just a few days a series of events would quickly unfold. Perhaps some of those in the crowd who shouted approvingly at Jesus’ triumphal entry found themselves yelling for Jesus’ execution only a few days later. Jesus did not bail out, He pushed through. So here’s a quick thought that may help you navigate difficult moments. Jesus was prepared for what was coming, and while we cannot predict our future we can be ready for life’s inevitability.
So how did Jesus ready himself for the ultimate challenge of the cross?
- Before Jesus launched into ministry, He set himself apart for 40 days of fasting and prayer. While most will never attempt something like that, I personally know the benefits of daily prayer and getting away to some place to be quiet. When life screams at you, what you do in the quiet provides the strength to move forward.
- He surrounded himself with good people. While the people in our lives can be far from perfect, we can choose who encourages us and who we allow to have our backs. We can block out the negative and listen to those that truly have our best interest at heart. Jesus extended that to his disciples and, in turn, that was ultimately given back to Him.
- Jesus had a purpose that had more to do with others than Himself. What a contrast to the current trends of self promotion and the selfie. Jesus gave His life for others, which made him available to care for people from all walks of life.
I suspect we all want to live healthier lives, and these three examples from Jesus’s life are a tremendous foundation to build on. I encourage you to practice each one, and as you do recognize that this makes you strong for whatever is coming your way. Stay well and stress free!
Pastor Jeff Johnson